Given the current state of the NBA, Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng surely, barring an injury, could have gotten more money had he waited until next summer to sign a new contract.
But at age 26 he went and accepted on Monday a four-year, $64 million contract extension that, as obscene as it might sound, looks like a bargain for the Wolves and should give them a little more flexibility when it comes time to sign Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.
"I wanted to be here," Dieng said after Tuesday morning shootaround before tonight's home-opener game against Memphis. "I rather take the money now or just wait and get a different offer. If I go to another team, am I go to be happy? I don't know. To me, after over $10 million (a season), you can do whatever you want. The money wasn't an issue. I just wanted to be happy and make sure I'm comfortable where I am...At the end of the day, it's not all about the money."
Dieng had a conversation with Wolves owner Glen Taylor Monday afternoon that help put things perspective and helped convince Dieng to sign now rather than waiting until he became a restricted free agent next summer.
Dieng's decision made Wolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau a happy man.
"I think it's important for the organization," Thibodeau said Tuesday. "Obviously, we feel very good about him signing. That's important for us to move forward. He embodies all the things we're looking for. He has had a very good start to his career. He continues to improve. He gets better and better, but it's also who he is: His character, his intelligence, his drive. I think those things are important."
Somebody asked Dieng if his new wealth means he's buying dinners now for his teammates.
"No, I'm not doing that," he said with a smile. "Let's just keep using Glen's credit card, you know. Let's just keep using Glen's credit card and we'll be fine."
Dieng signed his new deal Monday, but an 11 p.m. deadline that night came and went without Shabazz Muhammad reaching an extension deal with the team. He will be a restricted free agent next summer.
Asked if he is disappointed, Muhammad said, "Not at all. I'm still confident. Coach is still confident in me. In July, my rights are still here. They have the opportunity to sign me. So I love it here and want to be here long-term. We'll see what goes down."
The Wolves will play tonight without starting point guard Ricky Rubio, whom the Wolves deemed out "indefinitely" when they announced Monday night that he indeed sprained his right elbow late in Saturday's loss at Sacramento. While the team refused to put a timetable on him, two weeks probably is a reasonable time to estimate on his absence.
Rookie Kris Dunn will start at point guard tonight and Thibodeau said both Tyus Jones and John Lucas III must be ready to play backup minutes.
In classic Thibodeau fashion, when asked if Jones will be the first point guard off the bench, Thibs said, "He could be."