Jaden McDaniels’ deal paints Timberwolves into a corner

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

If you had concerns about the Minnesota Timberwolves’ ability to get a deal done with star small forward Jaden McDaniels, you were not alone. This was coming down to the wire. You see, NBA players who were selected in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft had a deadline of October 23, 2023, to get an extension done, or open themselves up to become a restricted free agent a the end of the 2023-24 NBA season.

So today was a very important day for both the Timberwolves roster and for Jaden McDaniels. Just like his teammates Naz Reid and Anthony Edwards before him earlier this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves and SF Jaden McDaniels have reached an agreement that makes McDaniels comfortably wealthy, but still comes in at a better-than-expected cost for the Timberwolves.

But there are consequences for their actions.

Timberwolves have a tough choice coming

With the outlay of so much cash to Naz Reid, Anthony Edwards, and now Jaden McDaniels, the Timberwolves currently project to become a team that will pierce both NBA salary cap tax aprons in the 2024-24 NBA season.  That may be the plan, or . . .

The Minnesota Timberwolves can avoid tax implications if the team follows the script projected by ESPN NBA Insiders who had gone on record to predict the Timberwolves as the main team to watch at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline. In their assessment, the Timberwolves would successfully extend Reid, Edwards, and McDaniels, which would force the front office to scramble at the deadline to shed excess salary.

Their assertion is that the Timberwolves will be forced to trade Karl-Anthony Towns due to the financial pressure of excessive salary combined with the threat of the NBA luxury tax plus penalties. Whether true or not, events have aligned almost perfectly with ESPN’s scenario.

That becomes the rub now, doesn’t it? Will the Minnesota Timberwolves remain committed to becoming an NBA luxury tax team, in spite of the amplified penalties in doing so? Or will this commitment of current salary dollars trigger a retreat at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, when the Timberwolves rumors prove to be true, and the team trades away a key but expensive player?

Stay tuned . . .

Plenty of other Jaden McDaniels and Minnesota Timberwolves articles to check out as well: