Wolves have to a make a major decision on Zach LaVine this year

Zach LaVine's ACL injury complicates a decision the Wolves have to make later this year.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

With Zach LaVine out for the season with a torn ACL and unlikely to resume basketball activities for an estimated nine months, the Timberwolves will enter 2017-18 with big questions about their 21-year-old shooting guard.

  1. Will he return with his pre-injury explosiveness?
  2. Will the Wolves extend his rookie contract or let him get to restricted free agency?

An answer to the first question won't come by anything other than projections until he actually proves he's back on the court. But in nine months it'll be October, meaning LaVine won't be back until at least right before the beginning of the season.

It's during the final stages of LaVine's recovery, July 31-Oct. 31, that Minnesota is allowed to offer extensions on Andrew Wiggins' and LaVine's rookie contracts. Zach Harper of Fan Rag Sports explains:

Wiggins and LaVine have the same agent — Bill Duffy. He’s the same agent who got four years and $70 million for Klay Thompson. That was right before the ceiling of the Golden State Warriors 2-guard became so high. The salary cap will be $30 million higher from when Thompson was getting an extension. Will Duffy push for something in the $90 million range? Do the Wolves blink and give it to him possibly a month before LaVine even returns to the court?

Talk about a tough call to make.

If LaVine doesn't sign an extension in the fall he'll likely get to restricted free agency in 2018-19, where other teams can offer him more than what the Wolves might be able to match.

That leaves Tom Thibodeau with two choices: Pay LaVine this fall and hope he returns to form, or wait and risk losing him before he turns 23.

Early indications point to Thibodeau believing LaVine will be fine.

“His overall game had blossomed,” Thibodeau said after LaVine got hurt last week, via the Star Tribune. “He’s shooting the three great, the free throws, the drives. All of it. He’ll get through it. He’s a mentally tough kid. He’s already talking about what’s next.”

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Teen arrested in connection to recent St. Cloud shootings

The shootings, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, did not result in injury or property damage.

GoFundMe - Ryan Bialke

Red Lake Band raising money for children of slain officer Ryan Bialke

They're hoping to create a memorial and scholarship fund.

Andrew Thomas booking photo

8 years in prison for man charged with shooting at National Guard

He was accused of firing multiple shots at soldiers patrolling Minneapolis.

Facebook - semi crash july 30 2021 Hwy 212 - Chaska Police Department

'Large crash' involving semi-truck on Highway 212 in Chaska

Police are warning motorists about long delays.

Fairmont Raceway

Fairmont Raceway admits 'bad mistake,' announcer on leave after racist comments

The raceway promoter initially backed Len Oelke, but has now apologized.

Smoke and haze Minneapolis

Air quality still bad on Friday as wildfire smoke continues to blanket MN

The smoky haze will continue till at least Friday afternoon.

Pool

Maple Grove man defrauded PPP of $1.7M, used some to install pool

The 47-year-old pleaded guilty in federal court.

Related

Wolves have to a make a major decision on Zach LaVine this year

Zach LaVine's ACL injury complicates a decision the Wolves have to make later this year.

The Wolves have been terrible, but Zach LaVine has been on fire

Remember when Zach LaVine was nearly traded before the season?

The Wolves have been terrible, but Zach LaVine has been on fire

Remember when Zach LaVine was nearly traded before the season?

Wiggins, LaVine have Wolves leading the NBA in 3-point shooting

The Wolves are on fire from three and leading the way are Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

Wiggins, LaVine have Wolves leading the NBA in 3-point shooting

The Wolves are on fire from three and leading the way are Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

The post-LaVine versions of Wiggins and Towns have been incredible

Andrew Wiggins has increased his scoring by nearly 40 percent since Zach LaVine's injury.

The post-LaVine versions of Wiggins and Towns have been incredible

Andrew Wiggins has increased his scoring by nearly 40 percent since Zach LaVine's injury.

Zach LaVine underwent knee surgery in Los Angeles Tuesday

Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine underwent surgery to repair his torn ACL Tuesday – but what's next for him?