Andrew Wiggins on Minnesota: 'I plan to be there a very, very, very long time'

Andrew Wiggins stands for the anthem. (Getty Images)

When Masai Ujiri took full control of the Toronto Raptors in the summer of 2013, the objective seemed clear. Ujiri would attempt to deal away all of the seemingly middling talent his predecessor (and former boss) Bryan Colangelo had outfitted the Raptors with, while joining a group of teams that were seemingly tanking the season in the hopes of drafting the very good (and also Toronto-born) Andrew Wiggins.

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After dealing Rudy Gay for nothing resembling a star and dangling Kyle Lowry in front of the New York Knicks, the Raptors seemed well on their way toward the lottery after a 6-12 start to the season. The Raptors went 42-22 after sending Gay to Sacramento, however, and ended up winning the Atlantic Division. The Cleveland Cavaliers, designed to actually shoot for a playoff seed, lucked out again and jumped from eighth to first in the 2014 NBA draft lottery, with the chance to draft Wiggins.

With the chance to trade for Kevin Love, then Cavs then dealt Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves are terrible, the Raptors are above-average, and the twain done met in Toronto on Wednesday evening: Wiggins’ first game as a pro played on his home soil. The 20-year old, averaging 15.7 points and 4.3 rebounds on the season, hit 6-9 shots on his way to 15 points in the 107-100 Minnesota loss.

Fancy playing a few more contests in Toronto, Andrew? Like, 41 a year and possibly some playoff games?

Here’s what the rookie told the press on Wednesday, via Eric Koreen at National Post:

“I love Minnesota,” Wiggins said. “They treat me nice up there. I plan to be there a very, very, very long time.”

For those that think the stars call the shots in the NBA, well, they still do. For those that think younger, less-established stars call the shots in the NBA, well, they usually don’t – unless a shortsighted general manager and ownership team decides to hand a young star a too-short contract that he can opt out of too quickly.

Luckily for Minnesota, Andrew Wiggins will never have to learn David Kahn’s name, even if owner Glen Taylor is still running things. And thankfully for Wolves fans, NBA rules make it so Andrew Wiggins will have to give the Timberwolves quite a while to figure out how to build a winner around him.

How long is “quite a while?” A very, very, very long time, of course.

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Wiggins can begin to negotiate a contract extension during the 2017 offseason, conversations we hope won’t be addled by extended labor negotiations. The Wolves may be tied for the worst record in the NBA entering Thursday night, and the team could “earn” the league’s worst record by losing to their tie-mates from New York in Wiggins’ next game, but the Wolves and president Flip Saunders still have two full seasons following this one to develop the young core that is already around Wiggins, and add new pieces via the draft and other means of veteran acquisition.

There is a very good chance the Wolves could bomb in their attempts to build around Wiggins, the favorite so far for 2014-15 Rookie of the Year. Saunders did well to acquire the youngster in the Love deal, and his other draft selections have showed promise, but Saunders’ other transactions have been hit and miss so far.

Whether he’s complaining, or committing, the “very, very, very long time” comment from Wiggins is spot on. Because if 2017 rolls up and Wiggins has had enough? He’d still have to wait what would feel like “a very, very, very long time” to leave the franchise.

If Wiggins develops as expected, the Wolves will offer him a maximum contract during the 2017 offseason – because of a potential collective bargaining agreement change in 2017 and because we don’t know how high the salary cap will be in light of all that added television deal revenue, it’s not fair to guess at what the terms would be.

Wiggins could decline the offer, but the Timberwolves would more than likely pick up their team option for Wiggins contract in the 2017-18 season. That option for the 23-year old, at $7.5 million while working under a salary cap that could be nearing $100 million, could turn out to be one of the great bargains in NBA history. Wiggins would then have to pass on accepting any restricted free agent offer in the summer of 2018, offers Minnesota would quickly match, in order to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

In basketball terms, especially to someone who just turned 20, that is “a very, very, very long time from now.”

Masai Ujiri did everything he could not to tamper when talking about Wiggins recently when he pointed out that the player he’d most like to add to the Raptors (excepting LeBron James) “might be Canadian,” and the Raptors will have cap space in 2018 to make Wiggins a restricted free agent offer. They’ll also have cap space in 2019, but every team in the NBA will have cap space over the next few years. Even the Brooklyn Nets, with Deron Williams making over $22 million in 2016-17, could have cap space nearing $65 million during the 2016 offseason.

You truly cannot cross any team off Andrew Wiggins’ list, a list he won’t even bother to put together for a few more years. A list of potential teams that, should the Timberwolves fail him, would take years to follow through on. No player has ever turned down a max extension coming off of a rookie contract, and rare is the coveted starter that sees a rookie contract out to its unrestricted end.

Andrew Wiggins’ comments on his permanence from Wednesday night shouldn’t be taken as a commitment to Minnesota (though he does truly dig it there), nor should they be viewed as a glimpse into the frustrations of a player (an already-traded player) that could go over five NBA years without getting the chance to choose his employer.

These are just factual statements. Andrew Wiggins is going to be in Minnesota for a very, very, very long time. Do something with that, Timberwolves.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!