For over two months, Andrew Wiggins had a five-year maximum contract extension worth $146.5 million sitting in front of him.
On Wednesday, the 22-year-old swingman finally agreed to the deal.
"I like everyone from the trainers to the coaches to the front office, my teammates," Wiggins said, per the Associated Press. "I love everybody. They've treated me with nothing but nice since I got here. And they were the first people who gave me the opportunity to play in the NBA after I got traded from Cleveland and they welcomed me with open arms. So this is where I wanted to be at.”
The delay was likely a product of drama between Wiggins and some former advisors that he had. He dismissed those men from his personal team and continued the process by himself.
Last season, Wiggins averaged a career-high 23.6 points on 45.2 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 37.2 minutes over 82 games. Over his three-year career, Wiggins missed just one game (in the 2015-2016 season) and has progressively improved his scoring output each year.
Although he holds an impressive career scoring average of 20.4 points, Wiggins has yet to make an All-Star team, which is likely one of the factors that keeps him motivated.
"He's never satisfied. He wants to get better," Wolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau said of Wiggins. "I think he's already demonstrated that to make the progress that he's already shown is impressive, but as I mentioned, it's scratching the surface. And now we hope that it'll continue to grow and it'll translate into wins.”
Alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, Wiggins represents a major piece of the Timberwolves franchise moving forward, even with veteran newcomers Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague now in the starting lineup.
"He deserves every dime," Towns said. "He's one heck of a player. We're blessed to have him.”
More than anything, Wiggins says that he now has more of a desire to live up to the big money.
"It's motivation to get better and show everybody what I can do, the other stuff I can do," Wiggins said. "The stuff they think I can do, add more, just keep on adding to my game.”
Based on his elite athleticism, durability and proven scoring ability, Wiggins looks like he has what it takes to be a valuable, productive wing in the NBA for a long time. This deal is likely the first of a few maximum contracts that he will make in his career if he continues to progress and develop.