Report: Jokic, Booker, Towns get supermax contract extensions; Morant, Williamson get rookie max extensions

Booker gets supermax extension:

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker agreed on a four-year, $224 million supermax extension; the deal begins in 2024-2025 and brings Booker’s total contract value to six years and $295 million.

The 25-year-old Booker was named All-NBA(First Team) for the first time in his career and averaged a career-best 26.8 points per game (8th in NBA) as he earned his third-straight Al-Star appearance while helping lead the Suns to the NBA’s best record.

Jokic gets supermax extension:

Denver Nuggets two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has agreed to the largest deal in NBA history – a five-year, $270 million supermax contract extension; the deal includes a player option and trade kicker; the total value of Jokic deal: six years and $303 million, according to Wojnarowski,

The reigning MVP averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.47 steals, and 0.85 blocks per game, setting career highs in each category except assists (second highest). The 27-year-old Jokic, who played 74 games and averaged 33.5 minutes, ranked sixth in the NBA in points, second in rebounds, eighth in assists, 12th steals, and 33rd in blocks per game.

The seven-year veteran became the first player in NBA history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season and was named All-NBA First Team.

KAT gets super max extension:

According to Woj, Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns has agreed on a four-year, $224 million supermax extension, which begins in the 2024-25 season and delivers Towns’ total contract value to six years and $295 million.

In his seventh NBA season, the 27-year-old Towns finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked 11th in scoring (24.6 PPG), 14th in rebounding (9.8 RPG), 16th in field goal percentage (52.9%), and 17th in three-point percentage (41.0%).

The three-team All-Star was named All-NBA Third Team.

Morant gets rookie max extension:

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant agreed on a five-year, $193 million designated rookie maximum extension that could become worth $231million, according to Wojnarowski.

Last season, the 22-year-old Morant was named All-NBA Second Team and NBA Most Improved Player after setting career highs for scoring average(27.4 points), rebounds per game(5.7 rebounds), steals per game(1.16), field goal percentage(49.3%) and 3-point percentage(34.4%).

Williamson gets rookie max extension:

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson is nearing a five-year rookie max contract extension worth up to $231 million. The commitment will take Williamson’s new deal through the 2027-28 season.

Williamson, 21, missed all of the 2021-22 season after recovering from foot surgery and has played in only 85 games in three seasons. 

In 2020-21, the last time he was on the court, Williamson averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per contest.

Cavs’ Osman on loss to Minnesota: ‘We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard’

The Cleveland Cavaliers were hoping to build off Saturday’s win over the Wizards as they hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night.

Of course, Cleveland was still without Darius Garland(back), Caris LeVert(foot), and Rajon Rondo(toe).

After trailing by 23 points in the third, the Cavs(36-25) tied the score at 122 late in the fourth, but Karl-Anthony Towns hit a three with 12.4 seconds left to give Minnesota(33-29) a 127-122 victory at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

With the loss, Cleveland’s eight-game home winning streak was snapped. 

Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to Minnesota.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Kevin Love was 2/15 from the floor, including 1/9 from deep in the last two games. He broke out of his little shooting slump Monday night, and he helped lead the comeback. Love scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including five threes. He also had five rebounds and four assists. 

-Cedi Osman was also big-time off the Cavs’ bench. He scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth and made the game-tying three late in the fourth. Unfortunately, he missed a three with a chance to tie with 04.6 seconds left.

Osman also added five assists and was a huge reason the Cavs had a chance at the end.

-Brandon Goodwin did his job Monday night. He recorded the first double-double of his career with 17 points and a career-high 12 assists. Goodwin also had just one turnover, and he added four rebounds. 

-Jarrett Allen had another efficient night as he had 21 points(9/10 FG) and eight rebounds. 

-Rookie Evan Mobley registered his second straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mobley has three double-doubles in the last four games, and he also had four assists and two blocks Monday night.

First Quarter: Cleveland got off to a great start against the Timberwolves. They shot 52% from the floor and got a big performance from Jarrett Allen, who scored 10 points on 4/5 shooting. In addition, they forced four turnovers, which led to nine points. Ultimately, the Cavs led 37-26 after one quarter.

Fourth Quarter: The Cavs cut Minnesota’s 23-point lead to 13 at the end of the third and continued to battle in the fourth. Cleveland went on a 13-4 run to cut the lead to 105-101, and they went on to tie the game at 122 late in the quarter.

In the final quarter, the Cavs shot 50% from the floor and almost pulled off the comeback.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Second Quarter: The Cavs struggled on the defensive end in the second quarter. Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 68% from the field. The Cavs got a little sloppy with the ball as they turned it over seven times in the quarter, which led to 14 points for the Timberwolves. Minnesota would score 38 points in the quarter and take a 64-61 lead at halftime.

Third Quarter:  After getting outscored by 14 points in the second quarter, Cleveland did not do much better in the third quarter. Minnesota went on a 29-9 run to start the third and took their largest lead of 23 points. The Timberwolves shot 60% from the floor, including 58%(7/12) from three-point range. Minnesota would outscore Cleveland 37-27 in the quarter and took a 101-88 lead into the fourth.

-Turnovers: Cleveland had a season-high-tying 22 turnovers Monday night, which led to 35 points for Minnesota. When you’re down two point guards, this is understandable. However, you have to do a better job protecting the ball.

Defense: Cleveland, who allows a league-best 102.7 ppg, allowed 101 points after three quarters. In addition, Cleveland allowed Minnesota to shoot 55% from the floor, including 18 threes. The Timberwolves scored 50 points in the paint. 

Bottom Line:

The Cavs got close, but they just could not get over the hump against Minnesota. We all know how the Cavs must defend to win without Garland and LeVert, and that did not happen Monday night. To their credit, Cleveland never gave up in this one, but hey, no moral victories for this team; they need wins.

Cleveland(fifth-seed) is now 4.5 games behind the Heat for the top spot in the East, but they may have to worry about what’s behind them. The sixth-seeded Celtics(36-27) are one game behind Cleveland, and the Raptors(33-27), who are the seventh seed, are now 2.5 games behind the Cavs, so Cleveland, despite the injuries, has to win.

“We’re upset we lost because we fought really hard,” Osman said. “I apologize for that last shot. I have to be better in those positions.”

What’s Next:

The Cavs conclude their three-game homestand Wednesday night against the Hornets.

Best of the Rest:

Minnesota had six players in double figures led by D’Angelo Russell’s 25 points, and Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Jaden McDaniels had 17 points apiece.

Cleveland also had six players in double figures.

Watch below as Love reacts to loss to Minnesota:

 

Cavs’ Okoro: ‘I feel teams are starting to respect us now’

The Cleveland Cavaliers led the Minnesota Timberwolves from the beginning to the end Friday night. Cleveland jumped out to a 20-4 lead in the first and led by as many as 19 in the opening period. 

Ultimately, Cleveland took a 65-44 lead at halftime. The Cavaliers’ largest lead was 33 points in this one as they routed the Timberwolves 123-106 at Target Center.

Cleveland had seven players in double figures.

After losing two straight, Cleveland(15-12) has now won two in a row and six out of their last eight, while Minnesota lost its fifth consecutive game.

Here is the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over Minnesota.

The Great for the Cavaliers:

-Isaac Okoro has been up and down on the offensive end this season, but on Friday night, he got it done. The second-year guard scored 11 of his season-high 16 points(7/10 FG) in the first half. Okoro does a lot on the defensive end. However, it was great to see him break out offensively.

-After 27 games, Jarrett Allen is an All-Star, and he continued to play that way against Minnesota. Allen had his second straight double-double as he had a team-high 21 points(9/11 FG) and grabbed 10 rebounds. According to StatMuse, Allen, who is averaging 17.3 points, 11.2 rebounds per contest on 71% shooting, is on pace to become the first player in NBA history to average 15 points, 10 rebounds on 70% shooting in a season.

-Kevin Love has embraced his new role off the bench, and he returned to Minnesota Friday night, where his NBA career began. The 13-year veteran had a double-double with 18 points, including three threes and a game and season-high 13 rebounds. He’s been in double figures three straight and six out of the last seven games.

-Lauri Markkanen was on fire against the Timberwolves. He scored 19 points(7/8 FG), including 4/5 from downtown. In the last three games, Markkanen is averaging 17.6 points on 65% shooting from the field.

-The man who makes it all work, Darius Garland, had a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 assists. He had some nifty passes Friday night, including this one to Evan Mobley:

First Half: Cleveland was cooking in the first half. They shot 61.5% from the field, including (7/11) 63% from downtown, and on the defensive end, they limited Minnesota to 32.6% shooting from the floor and forced 10 turnovers. Cleveland led by 21 points at the break, and according to Cavs Notes, the last time the Cavaliers had a 21-point lead at halftime on the road was November 20, 2017.

The Not So Great for the Cavaliers:

There is nothing to see here. Check back another time. Well, we could nitpick about the turnovers(17), but we’ll pass on that for now.

Bottom Line:

Cleveland is now 9-5 on the road and has won four of their last five away from the friendly confines of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. All four of those road wins have been by at least 15 points. In addition, since November 1, they are 7-2 on the road; the only two teams with better road winning percentages in that timeframe are Brooklyn and Phoenix.

This team gets it done collectively, as evidenced by seven players in double figures and three with double-doubles Friday. Clearly, they are ahead of schedule right now, which is a great thing!

“I feel teams are starting to respect us now, and we got to keep on fighting,” Okoro said post-game.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return home Saturday night against Sacramento as Cleveland will play three straight at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Best of the Rest:

-Cedi Osman added 13 points off the Cavs’ bench; Mobley chipped in with 11 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks, and in his return to Minnesota, Ricky Rubio had six points and eight assists.

-Karl Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 21 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks.

Watch below as Markkanen and Okoro react to the big win over Minnesota:

Towns on Embiid: ‘I am very happy that he’s come to the other side with COVID’

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid made his return to the court on Saturday after missing nine games with COVID-19.

The four-time All-Star picked up where he left off as he led all players with 42 points and tied a game-high with 14 boards, but Philadelphia would fall to Minnesota 121-120 in double OT.

After the game, Embiid discussed his battle with COVID, and according to him, it wasn’t good.

“It hasn’t been good,” Embiid said. “That jawn hit me hard; I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad, so I’m just thankful to be sitting here. You know, I struggled with it, but I’m just glad I got over it. You know, I’m just here doing what I love with some good people.”

Minnesota C Karl Anthony-Towns and Embiid have had their issues over the year, but Towns, who sadly lost multiple members of his family to COVID, including his mother, is happy to see Embiid back on the court.

“I told Embiid on the court as well; I am very happy that he’s come to the other side with COVID because we have had our thing for a while, but that’s bigger than basketball, that’s bigger than what we have,” Towns said. “I’ve seen it kill people, and I’m glad that he is on the other side, you know, so I am very, very happy that he’s doing well and he’s coming out on the other side and that he is healthy and he is getting himself back into basketball. No matter how we have felt about each other at times in the past, I think he is a hell of a player, and I am happy that the NBA has him back because, like I said, I want to play against the best of the best and he is one of the best, so it makes me have to play better, and it gives me a challenge.”

There are many things more significant than basketball, and COVID Is one of them, so it’s good to see Embiid and Towns bury the hatchet.