Ranking 13 Timberwolves contracts from bargain to nightmare

Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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First and foremost, the Minnesota Timberwolves don't truly possess a nightmare contract. All five of the Wolves' highest-paid players average more than 10.5 points and 23.5 minutes per game. Every player on the squad has earned their respective deal.

However, several players on the roster are raking in millions more than they should. Additionally, several players are being underpaid regarding their current statistical output.

Despite the Wolves ranking in the top half of the league in team payroll, their roster is well constructed. Minnesota is not overspending on any individual player and it shows. The Wolves are top-three in the vaunted Western Conference after spending numerous years near the bottom of the pecking order.

Here, we rank each of the 13 Timberwolves contracts. Starting from the deals that are often overlooked to the deals that make you ponder why it was offered in the first place.

Absolute Steals

13. Nickeil-Alexander Walker

As evidenced by his recent 28-point, 9-of-10 shooting performance, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is severely underpaid at just $4.5 million per year. Before the start of the season, Minnesota agreed with the veteran guard on a two-year pact worth $9 million.

Entering the 2023-24 season, $4.5 million seemed just right for the defensive-minded guard. He had a turbulent career up until this point, not knowing his place in the league. Alexander-Walker began his career as a high-volume shooter.

Although the former Pelican jacked up plenty of shots, he only shot above 40 percent from the field once in his first three seasons in the league. After being dealt to the Utah Jazz, Alexander-Walker started the transformation into a defensive-minded, efficient offensive player.

This season, the 25-year-old wing is averaging just 7.7 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, but he's playing with fantastic efficiency and hustles mercilessly on the defensive end. His opponents see a 2.2 percent dip in field goal percentage and he ranks in the top 40 of the NBA in defensive box plus-minus.

12. Anthony Edwards

As a former first-overall selection, Anthony Edwards is finishing the last year of the four-year, $44 million rookie pact he signed with Minnesota in 2020. After three seasons of excellent play and an All-Star appearance, the Wolves rewarded Edwards with a five-year, maximum extension worth $260 million.

While $260 million is a whole lot of money, the high-flying superstar is worth it. Already touted by many as a future "face of the league," Edwards has taken his game to the next level this season.

Compared to a season ago, the Georgia product is averaging more points and assists, despite playing fewer minutes. He's also increased his efficiency from the floor and the free-throw line.

Finally, Edwards' is immensely important to Minnesota's success. Per Cleaning the Glass, he ranks in the 91st percentile of players in efficiency differential. The Wolves are nearly 10 points better with Edwards on the floor.

11. Jordan McLaughlin

One of the more difficult players to rank, Jordan McLaughlin is earning just $2.3 million this season. Before the 2021-22 season, the Wolves signed the diminutive guard to a three-year deal worth only $6.48 million.

Sure, McLaughlin isn't a consistent contributor, but what's the harm in rostering a player who accounts for 1.2 percent of the Wolves's salary? In a relatively small role, the 27-year-old is averaging 2.9 points and 1.8 assists while shooting above 40 percent from the floor and 3-point range.

10. Mike Conley Jr.

Only three players on the list's salary will drastically change after the conclusion of this season, and Mike Conley Jr. is one of them. Back in 2021, while playing for the Jazz, Conley Jr. signed a three-year, $68 million deal.

This season, Conley Jr. is the 16th highest-paid point guard. While that's pretty good value for a player who makes Minnesota better on the offensive and defensive end of the court, his contract only gets more team-friendly.

Conley Jr. re-upped with Minnesota for two more seasons a month ago. The terms of the contract? Two years for only $21 million. As arguably the fourth most important player on the roster, Conley Jr. will be paid the sixth-highest salary on the team.

Of course, he's one of the oldest starters in the entire league, thus he's not at the top of the list. But, all in all, only about $10 million for a highly efficient, mistake-adverse starter is money worth spending.

9. Naz Reid

Still just 24 years old, Naz Reid has quickly made a name for himself after going undrafted out of LSU in 2019. In Reid's first professional season, he averaged 9.0 points and 4.1 boards per game while displaying stretch-big potential.

Now a fifth-year pro, Reid is up to 12.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, and 2.0 triples per game. All that production for just $14 million per season, and it's likely Reid could've gotten a whole lot more.

This past offseason, the LSU product re-signed with Minnesota before free agency officially began. In all likelihood, the 6-foot-9 big man would have commanded a heftier price tag if he were to hit free agency.

Reid is the ideal stretch big man. The size of a center, Reid has spent nearly half his time at the power forward spot. He offers a unique combination of off-the-dribble shot-creating and spot-up shooting for someone 260-plus pounds.