He is almost certainly going to get a major raise in the near future, but a lot of unknowns still need to play out. Boardroom dives into the Anthony Edwards contract situation.
After a second-year campaign in which Anthony Edwards averaged 21 points, the Minnesota Timberwolves guard said he needed another year to assert himself into the “best player” conversation. He isn’t there quite yet, but he’s on his way.
The 21-year-old is having a breakout year, averaging 25 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game on a Minnesota team that’s stayed afloat despite Karl-Anthony Towns missing the past 33 games. Selected as the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Edwards will become eligible for a rookie max extension worth five years, $195 million after the 2022-23 season. That number, of course, is subject to change depending on incentives and a higher salary cap figure.
An Anthony Edwards contract extension would take up 25% of the cap. If he were to win MVP in any of the three years before the extension starts, he’d become eligible to make 30% of the cap. Considering his most recent All-Star snub, that’s unlikely to happen. He also doesn’t need to sign anything this summer, earning $13.5 million next year with a qualifying offer worth $17.6 million.
There are several factors that come into play with Edwards as a player, franchise face, and long-term commitment. He’s earning $10.7 million on a team with the seventh-highest active payroll in all of the Association ($178.7M) — or 6% of the team’s cap. That’s not to mention the 26 points (and 18-15) record the T-Wolves have with him as their No. 1 man.
The Timberwolves shouldn’t hesitate to commit long-term. Last year, he became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 2,500 points. He’s already in the top-five in points and threes made among players younger than 22. His predictions are bold — sometimes to the point of comedy — but his confident talk is justified by his play.
Now it’s time he gets paid. But before that, the T-Wolves have to clear the way for an upcoming extension.
How an Anthony Edwards Contract Extension Fits in Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves poached the mastermind behind the Nuggets’ ascendance to help turn their franchise around, paying GM Tim Connelly $40 million over five years (and equity). He wasted no time, acquiring Rudy Gobert, who’s on the richest contract a center has ever signed (5 years, $205 million). KAT’s already earning $33.8 million in the fourth year of his rookie max.
Edwards’ extension wouldn’t kick in until 2024-25, when Gobert and KAT are set to take up 65% of the cap, leaving them with four signed players for a sum of $98 million. There’s virtually no way they’ll be able to avoid the luxury tax if they decide to keep Gobert, KAT, and Edwards together — and future financial flexibility is off the table. They can attempt to trade D’Angelo Russell’s $31.7 million expiring contract this summer, but NBA trade rules require matching salaries.
In other words: It is what it is. They’re going to be hard-capped for several years — and that’s without mentioning that Jaden McDaniels is also due for an extension after this season. He’s less of a priority, but still important nonetheless at 22 years old.
Rich Paul and Klutch represent Edwards, so he’s in good hands. He WILL get paid. Otherwise, he’s got a ways to go before becoming face of the NBA, the way he previously mentioned. The 22-year-old is reaching historic milestones that’ll eventually transfer into his bank account, but the T-Wolves still aren’t really on the map.
They’re hovering around .500, are in the basement in attendance (again), and Edwards didn’t crack the top-15 for jerseys sold. Heck, Minnesota hasn’t even won a playoff series since 2004 and Ant is still fighting to get All-Star love.
But if he continues at this pace, he’ll get his bag and he’ll get his respect — only he might be wearing a Seattle jersey by time all that happens.
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