Report: Wolves & Gorgui Dieng Near Contract Extension

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photo by Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports

Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated reports that the Timberwolves and Gorgui Dieng are nearing an agreement on a 4-year, $64 Million contract extension, shortly before tonight’s deadline. While the deal has not been formally announced, additional reports have confirmed Spears’ version and there is no reason to question that this will be finalized shortly and announced by the team.

I have already noticed a range of reactions to this news on the Twitter Machine. Some are celebrating it, believing the price tag to be a bargain. Others (like myself) have mixed feelings, not entirely sure how Dieng fits best on this team (or in the league in general) but acknowledge that he’s a decent rotation big man and those cost a lot of money these days.

A while back, Patrick and I discussed the Gorgui Extension Issue in more detail, in terms of how it fits into the team’s cap situation. I don’t need to re-analyze it again, here. Everybody will have their own take, which is how these things usually work.

For now, there are three things to remember and/or take away from this news:

  1. Any discussion of Dieng’s “value” needs to acknowledge that he is not a free agent right now, and cannot become a free agent until next summer. By signing Dieng now, the Wolves assume all of the risk that he could get hurt before the time he would otherwise be a restricted free agent. The question isn’t, “What could Dieng command on the open market right now?” It is, “How much should the Wolves pay Dieng right now, when their fallback option is 2017 restricted free agency?”
  2. Cap space is one of Thibodeau’s three listed reasons for taking this job. By extending Dieng, the Wolves reduce their 2017 cap space by at least $14 Million. They should still have room to sign a good player, assuming a “good player” wants to come to Minnesota next summer. But if Thibs has ideas to reshape this roster in a meaningful way via free agency, he will probably need to clear some room. This can be done by successfully applying for a career-ending injury exclusion to the cap after waiving Pekovic. More dramatically, it could be done by trading away Ricky Rubio, as some national reporters have predicted will happen this season.
  3. Good for Gorgui. The Senegalese big man has developed a great reputation inside the Wolves community as a hard worker and popular teammate. When Flip drafted Karl-Anthony Towns and it seemed like Dieng’s minutes might get squeezed, nobody ever heard a complaint from him. When Sam Mitchell played Dieng over KAT down the stretch of some games early last season, KAT had nothing but good things to say about Dieng, who had obviously earned respect in the locker room. Gorgui has connections in this community — he can be seen behind the Gophers bench, supporting Richard Pitino, his friend from Louisville days — and this $64 Million extension will help Minnesota feel even more like home for him. Through last season, Gorgui’s career earnings were about $4.2 Million, a tiny fraction of what he now stands to make.

Assuming this deal gets finalized, I’m sure the Wolves will have an announcement on the way.

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2 Responsesso far.

  1. pyrrol says:

    I’m not a numbers hound, checking everyone’s contracts around the league, but this looks like a pretty good bargain to me. I’ve been critical of Gorgui in the past, although I’ve always liked him. He’s not star material. But he’s a valuable big, getting more consistent and has had good health. In this season’s rocky start he’s been one of our more reliable players. In fact, since AWAW discussed the extension a little while back, Dieng has really won me over. I think it is a smart move. The comp is Mozgov recently getting that from the Lakers–4 years 64 million. In 2012 we signed Love to a 4 year 62 million contract. Both these sound unflattering–Gorgui worth more than Love!? And he Mozgov has been widely derided as a big overpay. Well, in some ways, Gorgui is more useful than Love. He doesn’t demand anything in game, and he has decent size and skill for a big. Love is undersized, has a star mentality and tends to only fit well into a specific role developed for him. He protects the rim about zero. Either way though, 2012 is a long time ago. Now he’s on a 5 year 109 million dollar contract. As for the highway Mozgovery, Dieng is much more skilled. He may not have a true natural position, but he can play PF of C in different lineups. Mozgov only works as a center in a normal lineup. I think the Lakers overpaid for Mozgov, but at the same time they seem to be able to afford an awful lot and Movgov is a good true 7 foot center. There’s worse deals. But the Dieng deal looks like we got more out of the same numbers.

    Again, I’m not a numbers/business guy at all, but how do we have only one slot after this signing to add a decent player under the cap? Isn’t a bonus of a young team all the rookie contracts? We are getting a lot of our talent cheap right now. Ricky is the only real normal price contract for a starting level player we carry. Well, I’m easily confused about this kind of thing…

  2. enai says:

    Hurray for Gorgui! And for the Wolves- $64 mil/4 years is an awfully team friendly deal for a player of Gorgui’s caliber!

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