When the Minnesota Timberwolves refused to include Jaden McDaniels in the deal that brought Rudy Gobert to the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," that was the first sign of how much the organization valued the 6-foot-9 wing.
The next clear indication was when the Timberwolves put their money where their mouth was. On Monday, McDaniels' agents told The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski that McDaniels and Minnesota had agreed to a five-year, $136-million rookie extension.
McDaniels is part of a young core that includes Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert as the veteran anchor. Overall, the 2022 season was a major step up for McDaniels, who averaged 12.1 points while shooting 51.7 percent from the field.
The 23-year old has quickly become one of the NBA's better 3-and-D perimeter defenders. He was in consideration for All-Defensive accolades and shot 39.8% from behind the arc.
Minnesota constantly trusted him to check the toughest matchup on the opposing team. Behind Mikal Bridges and O.G. Anunoby, McDaniels guarded the third-most 2023 All-Stars last season.
As the closest defender, McDaniels held opponents below 44 percent shooting and was even more impressive around the rim. Among those who defended at least 200 shots, McDaniels held the opposition to a 52.9 percentage, which ranked top 10.
Minnesota leadership believes this group is capable of a serious postseason run and spent throughout the offseason to lock up the foundation. At the beginning of the summer, the Timberwolves signed Edwards to a five-year designated rookie maximum contract extension worth up to $260 million. Backup center Naz Reid was inked for three years and $42 million in the offseason, too.