Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards talks 5-year extension: 'What's good... Let's work'

The Minnesota Timberwolves faced the Utah Jazz in NBA Summer League action Monday night in Las Vegas, but the real story of the night was at halftime.

Before taking the podium to talk about a life-changing contract extension, Anthony Edwards got a chance to embrace his family, and Timberwolves’ owners Glen and Becky Taylor. Late last week, Edwards signed a five-year extension worth at least $217 million to stay in Minnesota long-term. With incentives, it’s worth up to $260 million.

His opening statement was short and sweet.

"What’s good? Let’s work, that’s all I want to say," Edwards said.

Edwards was the No. 1 overall pick by the Timberwolves in 2020, but never got the chance to play in the NBA Summer League because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now entering his fourth NBA season, he’s becoming the face of the Timberwolves and one of the faces of the NBA.

Edwards thanked his older brother, Bubba, for getting him into basketball as a kid. Edwards even joked at the NBA Draft that basketball wasn’t his favorite sport, he loved football.

"Just having somebody to look up to, I wasn’t really a big basketball guy growing up, but watching him I decided to follow his footsteps. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here," Edwards said.

Timberwolves front office head Tim Connelly said the financial investment in Edwards long-term is more about him as a person, adding to his obvious on-court talent.

"He’s been an absolute joy. This level of commitment, it’s more about the person than the player. You don’t do this unless you trust the person and he’s everything we want to be. His positivity, his energy he brings to his teammates, to us as coaches and scouts, it’s invaluable," Connelly said.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said having a player like Edwards on the roster makes his daily life a little easier.

"He’s an absolute joy to coach every single day. He comes in with a big smile on his face, ready to work. If you ever see a press conference with Anthony, he’s always talking about his teammates, always talking about people around him, always rooting for other people’s success," Finch said. "Those are things that really help build a team spirit."

On the court, the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Edwards led the Timberwolves with 24.6 points per game last season, starting all but two regular season games. He averaged 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists, and shot nearly 37 percent from the perimeter.

He’s an alpha on the court, demanding the ball when the game is on the line. The next step is leading the franchise to its first playoff series win since 2004. The Timberwolves have made the playoffs two straight seasons, with early exits to the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets.

"We want to win man, that’s all I want to do," Edwards said.

He’s also been outspoken across the league, calling out players for resting when fans pay good money to see the best players in the league. In three full seasons, Edwards has missed just 23 games due to injury, an average of 7.6 games per season.

Edwards has a big summer ahead, committing to play with USA Basketball. He says that as much as anything else, will get him ready for his fourth NBA season. He won’t need training camp to get in playing shape, he’ll already be there.

Despite the big money, Edwards is all about his teammates. One of the biggest reasons he signed the extension is a current corps that features Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid.

"I think the most exciting thing is we’re young and we can get a lot better. We’ve got a great coach, a great GM so we trust these guys. As long as they trust us, we’re going to make it happen," Edwards said. "We’ve got a great group of guys, we’re going to get a lot better this summer. They got faith in all of us, it’s not just me. I can’t do it by myself, so it’s all of us. We’re a collective group."