Timberwolves' Derrick Williams, here defending against the Celtics' Gerald Wallace, averaged 15.2 points during the team's final 33 games last season while filling in at power forward. (Graham Hughes / Associated Press)
Minneapolis — For a guy who was drafted second overall just three years ago, Derrick Williams has enjoyed precious little security in his short time with the Timberwolves.
His name has been the subject of trade rumors almost from the moment he was drafted, and he has spent his first two seasons in the league trying to get on the same page with Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman while grasping the complexities of learning two positions.
So when he finally gets a little something to hold on to, it’s no surprise that Williams is appreciative.
Timberwolves president Flip Saunders, the former Pistons coach, informed Williams on Tuesday morning that the team will pick up his contract option for next season, guaranteeing the $6.3 million on the deal.
“I think everybody knows that if they didn’t pick up my option I would have been unrestricted (free agent) and, basically, could have done whatever,” Williams said after practice. “So it helps, the security.
“You’re guaranteed at least one more year in the NBA, you know? And, as long as you have that, I think everything is good.”
The decision by the Timberwolves doesn’t mean Williams won’t continue to see his name in the trade rumor mill. He’s still adjusting to playing two positions — small forward in addition to his more natural power forward — and he admits he still has a lot to learn on both ends of the court.
“It’s tough, especially when, ever since I’ve been here, I’ve heard trade rumors,” Williams said. “Really since I was picked. So it seems like every other day there is something new.”
But he’s also just 22 years old, and Saunders sees him as a young asset who deserves the chance to continue to develop.
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