It’s rare that we have a lottery pick, especially a pick so high like Derrick Williams, have to worry about the fourth year of their option being picked up but with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement beginning to rear its ugly head, it’s looking more and more common for teams to take a much more cautious look when it comes to extending rookie deals to their fourth year. Factor in that Derrick Williams hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire as the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft and it makes sense that there was so much discussion as to whether or not Flip Saunders and Glen Taylor would agree to give Williams a fourth season with the Wolves.
Apparently that discussion is over though. According to Darren Wolfson and Nate Sandell of 1500 ESPN, Glen Taylor has confirmed that the Wolves will exercise the team option for $6.2 million in 2014-15 in order to keep Williams. Of course, that could also be exercising the option in order to keep their trade options with Williams open as well. Regardless of what the plan is, the Wolves have committed (for now) to pay the fourth year salary of a guy they’re struggling to find a place for in this system.
Derrick Williams’ $6.3 million option for 2014-15 will be exercised, Wolves owner Glen Taylor confirmed to 1500ESPN.com contributor Darren Wolfson.
Williams’ future with the Minnesota Timberwolves has been a lingering storyline throughout the preseason. For now, at least one question surrounding Williams has been answered.
The former 2011 No. 2 overall draft pick is on tap to make just more than $5 million this season. His seven-figure raise next year will put the Wolves very close to the league’s luxury tax.
I’m a fan of this move for a couple of reasons:
1) It’s not my money.
2) I’m not all that worried about being close to the luxury tax because I think there is enough flexibility to avoid it if needed without having to mortgage a big part of this team.
3) Derrick actually played pretty well last year. At least, he showed us some much-needed improvements. He still has plenty to work on and needs to find more of a rhythm within what the Wolves want to do, but he no longer looks utterly confused when he’s out there.
4) I believe there are plenty of trade options out there if the Wolves decide Williams isn’t long for Rick Adelman. Teams like the 76ers and Suns could use a young player like Williams to try and mold/develop. If he’s playing well, he’s both helping the current team and increasing his trade value. If he doesn’t play well, it’s a position the Wolves are well stocked at (the 4, that is) and can manage to find ways to survive without his presence (or whatever presence he’s supposed to have).
5) As of right now, the Wolves need depth on the wings and Adelman seems to really be in favor of bringing Corey Brewer off the bench because of his energy. I’m not opposed to this idea by any means, but it probably means that Williams will be the starting small forward to start this coming season unless they find another option. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Williams is going to play 32 minutes per game on the wing, but putting him out there with Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, and Kevin Martin could be a really good thing. It forces him to move without the ball and it makes him the fifth option on the floor. It also gives the Wolves lots of rebounding on the floor.