Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels discusses new contract, Olive Garden celebration

Following a multi-year extension that makes him one of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ highest paid players, and ensures his future in Minnesota for at least the next half decade, Jaden McDaniels spoke Wednesday morning about his decision to sign his new contract and how he went to Olive Garden to celebrate.

"It’s life-changing and super exciting. It’s hit me, but it really hasn’t fully hit me yet," McDaniels said via a Zoom press conference. "It’s huge numbers – the biggest numbers I’ve ever seen."

On Monday, the Timberwolves announced they signed McDaniels to a five-year deal worth $136 million. Monday was the deadline to get a long-term deal done before becoming a restricted free agent.

To celebrate, McDaniels said he went to Olive Garden, eating, "the whole basket they gave us" of free breadsticks.

With a young core featuring himself, Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid signed for multiple seasons, McDaniels says he sees the Timberwolves being set-up to be competitive for numerous years to come. 

"It’s exciting to be able to watch them two grow, and all three of us grow together. Us being able to be together for years to come – I feel like we can compete for a championship and have deep playoff runs," McDaniels said. "I love the organization. Everyone here is very supportive, and it’s real comfortable for me. I also love the outdoorsy stuff, going out on the lakes. I know everyone says that, but I actually like doing it.

In July, Edwards signed a five-year designated rookie maximum deal that’s worth up to $260 million.

Before that, Reid signed a three-year deal worth $42 million in June, with a player option on that final year.

"Every year since I’ve been here we’ve gotten better, and I feel like we’re all building something together," McDaniels said.

Heading into the season, McDaniels said a goal of his is to win the Defensive Player of the Year award – something teammate Rudy Gobert has won four times before.

McDaniels was the No. 28 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft – the same year the Timberwolves drafted Anthony Edwards No. 1 overall.

Since then, he has started 137 games in three seasons with the Timberwolves, averaging 12.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 79 games last year. During the press conference, he noted his parents for keeping him on track while blossoming into the player he has become.

The Timberwolves open the 2023-24 season Oct. 25, against the Toronto Raptors. 

Their home opener is Oct. 28, against the Miami Heat at Target Center.