As training camp for the Timberwolves opened in early December, Jordan McLaughlin still didn't have a resolution with his contract.
Negotiations between his agent and the Wolves extended into the start of camp with the Wolves holding a lot of the cards in restricted free agency, since they could match any offer that came in for McLaughlin.
"It was definitely tough," McLaughlin said. "I'm a team guy, and I want to be with the team and do everything I can, but me and my agency, we had to figure out what was best for my case and scenario."
Ultimately, as the days dragged on, McLaughlin signed a qualifying offer that was in front of him over something longer with potentially more team control, betting that he could impress enough this season to get a more lucrative and better offers next year in free agency.
He made a case for himself last season when he became a regular in the rotation in the second half of the season. He played in 30 games and averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 assists.
But McLaughlin said recently he was just happy to be back with the Wolves, especially after he had to clear COVID protocols in order to join the Wolves on this road trip.
"We felt like what we did was the best [with my contract] but now everything is said and done so I'm here, ready to work and help the team out ..." McLaughlin said. "We got in a little work after shootaround and I just want to be a good vibe and good energy for the guys."
The Wolves did what they could to keep McLaughlin up to speed virtually as he waited to clear the protocols. McLaughlin was watching film and clips coaches sent him and said it wasn't too difficult keeping up with what they're installing. He finally saw action the past two games and averaged 17 minutes and three points.
"Luckily everything is pretty much the same," McLaughlin said. "Our offense is the same. Defensive terms are the same. For me it's getting back into the flow of things, the rhythm, playing and getting back to game speed."
McLaughlin mentioned his agency has reached out to the Players' Association to discuss the difficulty two-way players have in being locked into restricted free agency after their deals expire. But for now, McLaughlin is trying to find how best to fit in on a new roster that has two quality point guards in D'Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio. He didn't think it would be that hard to find his was on the floor.
"I ran a two point-guard system in college, and we did it a little bit last year, as well," McLaughlin said. "When you have three playmakers on the floor, it can help the team out tremendously. Us three playing on the floor at the same time is something that could happen in the future. If not, two and one or one and one, whatever it may be, but having as many playmakers as you can on the floor is great for the team."
• The Wolves debuted their 2020-21 City Edition uniform at Friday's game, the team's fourth such version. This year's version pays homage to the North Star with a color of midnight black with stars along the right-side panel.
• Wizards coach Scottie Brooks opened his pregame news conference by offering condolences to the family of broadcaster Tom Hanneman, who died Dec. 17. Brooks, who began his NBA career with the Wolves in 1990, got to know Hanneman then.
"He'll be missed,'' Brooks said. "You'd see him once, twice a year, and you were best friends, just picking up where you left off. He was funny, hard-working, just a perfect friend.''
Staff writer Kent Youngblood contributed to this report.