Source: Wolves, Nowell remain distant in contract negotiations

The Timberwolves have agreed to terms with first-round pick Jarrett Culver, undrafted free agent Naz Reid, and have inked Jordan McLaughlin to a two-way contract. Yet they still haven’t come to terms with second-round draft pick Jaylen Nowell. The negotiations between the two sides have become contentious and remain far apart on a deal, a source told SKOR North.

Nowell was selected by the Wolves with the 43rd pick in June’s draft after playing two years at the University of Washington. While at Washington he averaged 16.1 points per game on 47.6% shooting over 70 career games. He was named the 2019 Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Twenty-one of the 30 second-round picks have inked their deals to date. At least one player is going to be playing overseas for the time being, and more may follow that lead.

A source said that Nowell has been presented the opportunity to agree to a deal with the Wolves, but none of the offers have had any money guaranteed past the first season. The four-year contract that undrafted free-agent Reid signed with Minnesota was originally offered to Nowell, according to a source, but he passed on the deal, which led to Reid signing it.

Reid’s deal is fully guaranteed for the first season, but the final three years are non-guaranteed, essentially giving the Wolves three consecutive team options.

There are at least three players that were selected behind Nowell in this year’s draft that have received contracts with multiple years guaranteed on them. Los Angeles’ Talen Horton-Tucker was selected 46th, New York selected Ignas Brazdeikis 47th, and the Clippers drafted Terrance Mann 48th this past June, and each has at least two years guaranteed. One pick before the Wolves selected Nowell, the Washington Wizards selected Admiral Schofield and inked him to a three-year, $4.3 million deal with two guaranteed seasons and a partial guarantee on the third year.

The guarantee that Nowell has been offered for the first year is $898,000, per a source. Nowell is looking for a contract similar to the one that 2018 second-round pick, Keita Bates-Diop, signed with Minnesota. He agreed to a three-year deal in which the first two seasons were guaranteed.

The Wolves have gone the cost-saving route this summer for the most part, as well. They declined to match Memphis’ offer sheet of three years and up to $28 million for Tyus Jones after incentives, after failing to coming close to reach an agreement themselves first. Jones’ deal with Memphis has roughly $24.5M guaranteed. A source told SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson that the Wolves wanted to sign Jones to a deal around $4 million annually. They also originally did not offer Culver the full-rookie max, offering him roughly 80% of it before eventually agreeing to the 120% max.

Jones’ agent, Kevin Bradbury of BDA Sports, went as far as to tell The Athletic that they could not receive a fair offer from the Wolves and decided to look elsewhere.

Should things progress that far, the Wolves would have to offer a ‘Required Tender’ to Nowell two weeks before Sept. 5. That tender would be for one season and worth the minimum should they not waive Nowell during camp.

“We’re working through everything. Not just our rookies, but also the trade market is still open. I’ve said this for the last couple of months, check back with us when training camp starts and that’s what our roster will look like,” Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said on Tuesday when asked about Nowell still being unsigned and the roster spots dwindling down. “Our job here is every day to look at any opportunity that might present itself. Whether it’s trade, whether it’s other free agents that available, working through our rookie situations, but it’s pretty typical of what all our off seasons will look like.”

Nowell did not play in the Las Vegas Summer League because of a quad contusion, causing him to miss all seven of the team’s games.