Minnesota Timberwolves 22-year-old All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards (ANT) may have signed a five-year rookie max extension contract this summer, but his rising play in the brightest lights of the 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament has placed a great deal of pressure on Timberwolves incoming majority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez.
ANT’s rise in international media presence and in NBA headlines has caused a lot of chatter about whether the Minnesota Timberwolves are a big enough market for Edwards to thrive in. Most notably, beloved former Timberwolf Patrick Beverly said that Anthony Edwards
"“will get out of Minnesota, that’s just what happens.” “That’s no disrespect to Minnesota,” Beverely clarified. “It’s just that personality, he could change the world.”"
It is no secret that Anthony Edwards is the most promising player that the Timberwolves have had since legendary PF Kevin Garnett, and the new ownership needs to do everything they can to prop the Timberwolves up to be a market Edwards can thrive with both on and off the court.
Timberwolves tuning up for Anthony Edwards
The Wolves have already started to do this when they put billboards across Vegas of ANT’s contract extension during the NBA Summer League this past summer.
This is just a small stepping stone in pleasing a star in a star-driven league. The Timberwolves will have to go the extra mile to retain ANT long-term.
The first priority is for the Wolves to keep fielding competitive teams that can generate deep playoff runs for Edwards to play on the biggest stage. These efforts are surely noticed with the hiring of well-respected GM Tim Connelly. To go along with win-now moves like trading for star center Rudy Gobert and deciding to keep All-Star center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns.
But there are things off the court the Wolves should be considering.
The most obvious is getting now-retired NBA veteran Kevin Garnett back in Target Center to be in ANT’s ear. Garnett has already shown he is a big fan of Edwards, and this would provide a mentorship from an NBA legend.
More importantly, The Big Ticket (Kevin Garnett) loved the state of Minnesota, and he can show ANT to really embrace the state to its fullest potential.
The Minnesota Timberwolves organization should also want to appeal to ANT in a fun way. Naming a lake or street after him is most certainly a fun/creative way to do that. A lot of people would say that doing this is gimmicky but at the end of the day, ANT is an impressionable 22-year-old that wants to feel appreciated.
Edwards did sign his five-year rookie extension, but what Pat Bev says does hold some merit. The NBA is known for their American-born stars commonly leaving their original drafted teams for larger market coastal teams. With incoming owner Alex Rodriguez being the player he was in baseball, I’m sure he is thinking about how he can keep the future of the franchise for many years to come happy in Minnesota.