With the first week of the NFL season approaching, certain deals had to get done and several of them actually did.

One we were not sure would be finalised but are not surprised it was got wrapped up in Dallas, another caught us off guard in Los Angeles and in Indianapolis one flew in under the radar.

And as the NFL season starts up, the MLB season winds down, but even as it does the drama is actually increasing.

All of that and more this week in US Sports.

 

1. Ezekiel Elliott locked up, Jared Goff is now a rich man

The Cowboys had to get this deal done. Ezekiel Elliott has led the NFL in rushing in two of his first three seasons, and when Dallas were without Elliott over a six-week span in 2017, the Cowboys went 3-3 and their offense looked abysmal.

So Elliott had to be signed and he became the richest running back in football, inking a six-year extension worth $90million ($50m guaranteed). Again, this had to get done so it was not too surprising that it did.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, the Rams did not have to pay Jared Goff but they decided to do just that, signing him up to a four-year extension worth $134m ($110 m) guaranteed. Goff's guaranteed money surpasses the most ever paid to an NFL player, passing Carson Wentz's $107.9m.

Then in Indy, the Colts signed new starter Jacoby Brissett to a two-year, $30m extension as well. Many may think the Colts will take a step back with the surprising retirement of Andrew Luck, but the team clearly believe Brissett is good enough to get a chance to lead them.

2. MLB races heating up

Absolutely nothing is decided yet in the MLB playoff race. In the American League (AL), the Houston Astros and New York Yankees are 1.5 games apart for the best record in the league and home-field advantage in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians are all separated by one game for two wildcard spots.

In the National League (NL), the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have the best record locked up but the Atlanta Braves are not too far back as they trail by six games with 22 to play. It is not insurmountable but it will be tough to get there.

In the wildcard race, the Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets are all fighting over two spots and separated by 7.5 games. The Nationals appear to have the top spot at hand as they led the Cubs by three games for the first wildcard spot, but again, anything could happen here.

The NFL may be starting up but the race for the playoffs in MLB is far from settled.

 

3. United States advance to second round of FIBA World Cup

It was not easy, but the United States have made it to the second round of the FIBA World Cup.

USA went 3-0 in pool play and survived a scare against Turkey to take the top seed in Group K in the second round. They are now matched up with 2018-19 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Greece and will play their first game of the second round on Saturday.

Khris Middleton is a team-mate of Antetokounmpo's in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and he wants to see him succeed – just not against USA.

"We've spent hours in practice against each other and it will definitely be fun to get it in a real game," Middleton told Omnisport at USA practices in Las Vegas in August. "That's my team-mate, my brother and wish him the best but hopefully not too good against us."

4. Which NCAA quarterbacks are up? Which ones are down?

Quarterbacks get more attention in football than any other position and for good reason: the game is about the man under center and the NFL has made that abundantly clear with rules designed to make the passing game easier.

So who in the next wave of quarterbacks made headlines this week?

- Jalen Hurts transferred to Oklahoma from Alabama two years after leading the Crimson Tide to a National Championship game. He went 20-of-23 passing for 332 yards and threw three touchdown passes in OU's first win of the season. He also rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns. He looks like an early-season Heisman Trophy favourite.
- Hurts' replacement Tua Tagovailoa – who was the runner-up last season in the Heisman to OU's Kyler Murray – picked up right where he left off last year, going 26 of 31 for 336 yards with four touchdowns in Alabama's first game.
- Clemson sophomore Trevor Lawrence, who would likely be the number one pick if the NFL allowed true sophomores to enter the draft, had an OK first game, going 13 of 23 for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while also rushing for a touchdown in a win over Georgia Tech.
- USC sophomore J.T. Daniels suffered a season-ending injury and the Trojans are now scrambling to salvage their season.
- Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello left Saturday's win over Northwestern and is questionable for week two.

The quarterbacks are a big story once again this year and they will be throughout the season.

Dwight Howard said the past does not matter as he looks ahead to his second spell with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers brought back Howard on a nonguaranteed, one-year deal last month after DeMarcus Cousins tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

Howard, who spent one rocky season with the team in 2012-13, discussed his decision to return to the Lakers on Wednesday.

"I never had any ill will toward any of the fans here in LA," the 33-year-old said. "I loved this city from the first moment I've been here and started playing in the NBA.

"It was never nothing against anybody here [on] the team or anything like that, it was just a decision I made. I love this city. I love playing in L.A. I'm back here so none of that stuff in the past even really matters to me anymore. I think we all have a fresh start."

Howard came to the Lakers the first time with high expectations. But the team struggled and he clashed with team-mates, leading him to eventually leave and join the Houston Rockets. 

"It's been six years, in 2020 it'll be seven years. ... I'm big on numbers," Howard said. "Seven is for new beginnings ... I'm looking forward to having a fresh start with the fans and stuff like that. Show them my only dedication is to putting another banner up here in Los Angeles."

Howard was a star early in his career with the Orlando Magic but has regressed significantly since then. The eight-time All-Star's path to return to Los Angeles was cleared after he received a buyout from the Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired him in a deal with the Washington Wizards in the offseason.

The Lakers will be the fifth team Howard has suited up for in the last five seasons. 

"We're trying to win a championship," Howard said. "And you know, I think that everybody wants to know what level of commitment that I have, and what everybody else on the team has.

"So, I definitely understand it. I'm very committed to helping this team win a championship. It's not just an interest of mine. It's something that I'm super-committed to. And I'd rather just let my actions speak louder than any words that I can tell you." 

The Lakers rebuilt their roster when they landed Anthony Davis in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to pair with LeBron James. They created cap space to add a third max player but missed out on Kawhi Leonard, who signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Los Angeles then signed Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso and Cousins to deals.

McGee and Howard are the only two healthy centers on the Lakers' roster.​

Eric Gordon has signed a contract extension with the Houston Rockets, the NBA franchise announced on Wednesday.

Gordon's new deal runs through the 2023-24 NBA season, while it is reportedly worth $75.6million.

The 30-year-old was entering the final year of the four-year deal he signed with the Rockets in 2016 and is now locked up for the next five years and will make an estimated $90m.

Gordon – the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 2016-17 – has averaged 16.8 points and 3.2 three-pointers made per game in his three years with the Rockets.

The Rockets are coming off a season where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games of the Western Conference semi-finals, and since then Houston have both changed up their backcourt and cemented it.

Houston traded Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook and have now secured Gordon.

Westbrook, Gordon and 2017-18 MVP James Harden are now all locked up through at least the 2022-23 season, though both Westbrook and Harden have player options that year.

The United States had a narrow escape at the FIBA World Cup on Tuesday as Gregg Popovich's depleted team beat Turkey in overtime. 

After Turkey missed four consecutive free throws in the final 10 seconds, Khris Middleton made a pair from the line with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime as USA secured a dramatic 93-92 win.

In doing so, they avoided their first loss in the preliminary rounds at a World Cup since 1998. 

USA had a five-point lead with just under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter but watched Turkey go on a 7-0 run to go up 81-79 on Ersan Ilyasova's tip-in of Cedi Osman's miss with 12.3 seconds left. 

Popovich's team went for the win on their final possession of regulation, with Middleton firing up an effort from beyond the arc. He missed, but Kemba Walker secured the rebound and got it to Jayson Tatum, who managed to draw a foul from Osman while in the act of shooting from behind the three-point line at the buzzer. 

With a chance to seal the game in his hands, Tatum made the first but missed the second and had to drain the third to send it to overtime, where the back-and-forth nature of the game continued. 

Turkey stretched out a five-point advantage to open the extra session before USA rallied to take a 91-89 lead on a Tatum layup with 1:50 to play, but Osman converted a three-pointer a minute later to put the underdogs back on top. 

After a Joe Harris miss, USA got the ball back when Walker drew a charge with 14.6 seconds to play, but Myles Turner turned it over.

Harris was called for an intentional foul, sending Dogus Balbay to the line for two. He missed both, but Turkey still had the ball, so Marcus Smart immediately fouled Osman. The Cavaliers forward missed his two shots as well, handing USA one last lifeline that Middleton was able to convert. 

The Milwaukee Bucks star led USA with 15 points while Walker added 14. Ilyasova had 23 for Turkey to lead all scorers.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell paced the offense as the United States launched their FIBA World Cup campaign on Sunday with an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic.

Mitchell scored 16 points to lead the USA, while Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes added 14. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker got the team off to a fast start, combining for 20 points in the first half. Walker finished with 13 points and Tatum scored 10.

Myles Turner also had seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the US, who forced 15 turnovers.

Mitchell kept his dominating momentum down to the final minutes of the game in Shanghai.

For the Czechs, who played their first World Cup game since 1982, Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky led the team with 17 points.

The USA will play Turkey on Tuesday in Shanghai in a rematch of the 2010 World Championship final. The Czech Republic will face Japan on Tuesday.

It's football time in the US.

The NFL preseason wraps up this week and the college season really gets going on Thursday as the No. 1 team in the country Clemson opens up against Georgia Tech.

With that several storylines that have rumbled on throughout the offseason come into an even greater focus.

Here we look at some of the biggest news from this week in US Sports.

 

1. Contracts still up in the air as holdouts stand their ground

With the NFL season less than two weeks away, teams are starting to finalise their rosters. But what can make a franchise's job even harder is trying to come to decisions at key positions when players are not in camp, and in Texas, two huge players remain in a self-imposed exile.

Ezekiel Elliott continues to hold out in search of a new contract with the Dallas Cowboys and in Houston, Jadeveon Clowney still has not signed his franchise tender with the Texans and appears willing to wait into the season to make any kind of decision if he is not traded.

The argument could be made these two players are the best on the rosters of the Cowboys and Texans and it is very likely neither will be active in Week 1.


2. College football kick-off

Team USA still pose a threat at the FIBA World Cup even if Kemba Walker rather than LeBron James is their star man, says former Germany star Demond Greene.

Defending champions the United States, who have five titles to their name, have seen several world superstars such as James pull out of contention for the tournament that starts on Saturday.

But Greene, who played at two World Cups, famously blocking Dwyane Wade in 2006, acknowledges players such as Walker and Khris Middleton could still have a huge impact on the finals.

"It's not their 'A-team'. I would not even say it's their 'B-team'," Greene told Omnisport. "It's a mix between 'B' and 'C-team'. Despite this, they are still dangerous."

Greene added: "You must never underestimate them. [The players] are still playing in the NBA.

"They've got players who average 20 points per game like Kemba Walker. They are All-Stars and leaders in their teams which proves that they are high quality players.

"The problem is that we are spoiled from the previous years, when players like James Harden, Kevin Durant or LeBron James played.

"Now you have players like Khris Middleton, who many won't even know. You have to be a basketball expert to know Khris Middleton, maybe even Kemba Walker.

"That's the problem, that many look at who's not in the team, rather than who is."

Greece are another potential contender due to the presence of Middleton's Milwaukee Bucks team-mate and reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Greene believes they can be successful but says the team's big European stars must get used to playing second fiddle to Antetokounmpo, who will dominate the narrative.

"The important thing is that all players understand their role," Greene said. "The years in which Giannis didn't play, all the players had another role.

"He is the top star on and off the court. When there are press conferences, there are going to be 50 cameras around him and the other players will get what is left. You have to handle this.

"They have to understand that even if they play a totally different role in Europe and are top stars here, like Nick Calathes at Panathinaikos. He is a team leader there and also still for Greece. He may even be the heart of the team.

"They all have to cope with that. If this works out, then they can get very, very far with Giannis as their power machine.

"But it all has to work out internally and they will have to let him walk in front and let him be the leader with Calathes at his side.

"Then they can be a very dangerous side, especially in defense. Offensively, they are not that strong, but in terms of defense, they can really hurt other teams."

Players for Team USA are well aware of the opportunity they have coming up in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Not just to represent their country, but to learn from coaching greats like Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr.

"I've really tried to kind of pick their brains," Team USA guard Donovan Mitchell said during training camp in Las Vegas earlier this month. "Picking everybody’s brain, coaches that have had such impact on this game, figuring out how to be a better overall player. Whether it's my approach to the game, whether it's a decision I make in the game defensively, offensively, whatever it may be."

Everyone wants to learn this year on Team USA. Mitchell said so on more than one occasion and plenty of players echoed the sentiment. Every single one of them talked about their excitement, specifically when it comes to playing for Popovich.

It's not hyperbole to call the San Antonio Spurs coach an NBA legend.

Popovich has won five NBA titles in San Antonio and three Coach of the Year awards. Only two coaches in the history of the league have more titles than him (Phil Jackson with 11 and Red Auerbach with nine) and two more have tied him in championships (Pat Riley, John Kundla).

He has as much respect as anyone in the NBA and his level of knowledge can be magnetic.

"We all grew up watching Pop, now we're playing against him," Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker said. "We know how much of a legend he is, he's just an unbelievable coach, so for me to get the opportunity to play for him, for him to pick me to be a part of this team, it's a blessing."

This isn't the first time Popovich has been in a situation to rub off on players from around the NBA. He also was an assistant for the national team in the early 2000s and was on the bench when Team USA earned a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics.

That was a tough moment for Popovich, even though he was only an assistant on Larry Brown's USA staff. The bronze medal broke a string of three straight golds for Team USA at the Olympics and it remains the only time the United States has earned less than gold in the last seven Games.

Mike Krzyzewski's decision to step down as Team USA head coach after the Rio Olympics opened up an opportunity for Popovich to take over, but he has his hands full in San Antonio and taking the head coaching job for a national team is a big decision. It was not guaranteed he would coach this team in 2019 at the FIBA World Cup in China but, eventually, he gave in.

"I thought about it," he said earlier this month, via ESPN. "I met with Mr. [Jerry] Colangelo [Team USA's managing director]. I took a little bit of time. We talked several times. I knew what I was getting into. It's your country. You say yes. You man up and try to surround yourself with as much brainpower as you can."

In a way, the role provides Popovich with a shot at redemption for his country. It's a tough shot as this FIBA roster was marred by withdrawals and injuries and goes into the World Cup lacking the usual star power of a USA team.

Team USA will have to figure some things out and has dealt with some challenges on the court already with a loss to Australia last week, which broke a 78-game winning streak in international play.

Kerr put the state of this team — and Popovich's foray back onto its coaching staff — into great perspective as the World Cup creeps closer.

"The whole game is trying to put the puzzle together," said Kerr, the Golden State Warriors head coach who is assisting Popovich.

It is a puzzle Popovich was willing to figure out and one his players are embracing alongside him as he shows them how to fit the pieces into place ahead of Sunday's tournament opener against the Czech Republic in Shanghai.

"Seeing him when you play against him, you don't get to see this side of Pop that those guys in San Antonio see," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. "So being here and able to play for him, he's a fun guy, he jokes a lot, I didn't know he was a jokester like that.

"He jokes a lot, but he's about business … you know he's really good about making sure to have fun and just staying loose and get you right, (and) he's a guy you really want to have coach you."

Kobe Bryant said there is no "beef" with Shaquille O'Neal and he has "nothin but love" for his former Los Angeles Lakers team-mate.

O'Neal responded to comments made by five-time champion Bryant, who thought he could have won 12 NBA titles if his team-mate shared the same work ethic.

During an interview at the 10th annual PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas, Bryant seemingly took another shot at O'Neal.

Bryant was asked what would have happened if O'Neal had his work ethic. Bryant replied: "He'd be the greatest of all time".

"He'd be the first to tell you that," Bryant added. "I mean this guy was a force like I have never seen. I mean, it was crazy. A guy at that size…. Generally guys at that size are a little timid and they don't want to be tall. They don't want to be big. Man, this dude was… he did not care. He was mean. He was nasty. He was competitive. He was vindictive.

"I wish he was in the gym. I would have had f****** 12 rings…. It wouldn't even be close. ... Me and Shaq sit down all the time and I say 'if your lazy a** was in shape'."

The video surfaced on Instagram earlier this week and four-time NBA champion O'Neal responded with a comment of his own.

"U woulda had twelve if you passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons #facts. ... You don't get statues by not working hard," O'Neal wrote.

Bryant later tweeted on Wednesday: "There is no beef with @SHAQ I know most media want to see it but it ain't gonna happen. Ain't nothin but love there and we too old to beef anyway #3peat."

O'Neal then responded to Bryant's tweet, writing: "It's all good bro, when I saw the interview, I thought you were talking about Dwite, is that how u spell his name lol."

Bryant and O'Neal became known for their "beef" when they played alongside each other for the Lakers from 1996-2004. The two earned three straight championships before O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.

Jeremy Lin won the NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors in June but will spend next season with the Beijing Ducks.

Lin joined the Raptors after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks in February, adding backcourt depth behind Kyle Lowry and Danny Green.

He became the first Asian-American player in league history to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but he struggled in 23 regular-season games with Toronto and has found a new home in China.

"Thanks to the NBA and everyone who's supported me the last 9 years! Will always cherish being able to rep Asians at the NBA level. Excited for the next step with the Beijing Ducks. Excited to make more history," Lin wrote on Twitter. 

The guard remained unsigned when free agency began and last month described how he felt like he hit a new level of "rock bottom" after receiving little interest from teams in the NBA.

He said: "In English, there's a saying, and it says, 'once you've hit rock bottom, the only way is up.'

"Rock bottom just seems to keep getting more and more rock bottom for me. So free agency has been tough, because I feel like in some ways the NBA's kind of given up on me."

Lin, who turned 31 last week, played nine seasons in the NBA for eight different teams, never spending more than two years with one franchise.

NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out Greece's final FIBA World Cup warm-up match against Venezuela on Tuesday.

The Milwaukee Bucks forward is set to be his country's main man at the tournament in China after an outstanding season in the United States in which he was named MVP.

But Antetokounmpo was not available to face Venezuela after complaining of irritation in his knee and opted not to take the risk with the World Cup beginning on Saturday.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis' brother, had been dealing with a foot problem but was included in the team.

Greece begin their World Cup campaign against Montenegro on Sunday, with further group stage games against Brazil and New Zealand following next week.

Dwight Howard's return to the Los Angeles Lakers was confirmed by the NBA team on Monday.

Howard will head back to the Lakers for the first time since the 2012-13 season, when he spent one year with the team.

After the center cleared waivers, Los Angeles quickly made the well-reported move official.

Howard planned to sign a non-guaranteed deal with the team, according to an earlier report from ESPN. 

Los Angeles lost DeMarcus Cousins to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear earlier this month, leaving JaVale McGee as the only active center on the Lakers' depth chart.

Joakim Noah and Marreese Speights were also considered as potential replacements for Cousins.

Howard, 33, averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Washington Wizards last season but only appeared in nine games because of a back injury he suffered early on in the year.

He was traded to Memphis following the 2018-19 season. The Grizzlies recently negotiated a buyout with the big man so he could rejoin the Lakers.

Los Angeles have seen some major turnover on their roster, as they traded Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and multiple future first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James.

The Lakers finished last season with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs and will look to improve upon that mark with their new personnel in 2019-20.

Caris LeVert has agreed a "multi-year" contract extension with the Brooklyn Nets, the team confirmed on Monday.

The terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN reported late on Sunday that LeVert had agreed a three-year, $52.5million extension that will begin with the 2020-21 season.

Levert, the number 20 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, finished last season averaging 13.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 40 games, having missed three months with a dislocated foot.

"Caris personifies what it means to be a Brooklyn Net, and we firmly believe his best basketball is in front of him," general manager Sean Marks said as the new deal was confirmed.

"The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximise his talents and achieve team success.

"Our entire organisation is excited to continue to have Caris as one of the leaders of our programme moving forward."

The Nets have completely rebuilt their roster this close season to potentially put themselves in position to be in title contention for the next few seasons.

They landed a pair of stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, in free agency and also signed veteran center DeAndre Jordan.

"I feel everyone has a chip on their shoulders from one to 15 before those guys, and I know those guys do, too," LeVert said, via the New York Post.

"I feel everyone at this level, that's kind of what you have to have to be one of the top players. That's our identity. I know we won't lose that."

LeVert is looking forward to eventually sharing the court with Irving and Durant, who is expected to miss most of 2019-20 after rupturing his Achilles in the NBA Finals.

"Honestly I was a little surprised," LeVert said. "I'm definitely very excited because those are two guys I like to play against and watch a lot of film on. Obviously, I can't wait to play alongside those guys."

The Nets finished last season with a 42-40 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15, where they were eliminated by the Philadelphia 76ers in five games.

The Sacramento Kings and NBA announced on Friday they have cleared coach Luke Walton after a four-month investigation into allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Kelli Tennant, a former Spectrum SportsNet reporter, sued Walton on April 22, accusing him of sexual assault, verbal and physical harassment and unwanted physical contact over a three-year period.

A day later, Tennant held a press conference and recounted an alleged incident at a Los Angeles hotel in 2014 during which, she said, Walton pinned her to a bed.

At the time of the alleged incident Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.Tennant's lawsuit and news conference came only a week after he was named the Kings head coach.

Her allegations prompted the NBA and Kings to launch a joint investigation. Almost two-dozen people were interviewed during the investigation, but despite "repeated attempts" to interview Tennant, she did not participate on the advice of her legal team, according to an NBA statement.

The statement read: "Based on this and the available evidence, the investigators determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations made against Coach Walton."

Tennant's civil suit is believed to still be active. Tennant's attorney, Garo Mardirossian of Los Angeles, did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Sacramento Bee.

Walton, who coached the Los Angeles Lakers for three seasons before parting ways with the team in April, takes over a Kings club that finished 39-43 last season.

"I am 100 per cent focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings and energised to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start this preseason," Walton said in a statement on Friday. "I will have no further comment."

"Luke Walton is our head coach and we support him and his team as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season," the Kings said in a statement.

The Minnesota Timberwolves need Andrew Wiggins to be more consistent, according to president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas.

Wiggins signed a five-year, $146.5million extension with the Timberwolves in October 2017, but the 24-year-old regressed over the last two NBA seasons. 

Rosas was asked about Wiggins – the 2015 Rookie of the Year – and his development during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday.

"Andrew in particular with his talent and physical abilities, the potential he's shown, we've got to get that on a more consistent basis," Rosas told the Star Tribune. 

"He's focused on it as well. In order for us to have the success we want to have, he's got to be a main contributor. He understands that, we understand that."

The Timberwolves acquired Wiggins from the Cleveland Cavaliers before his rookie season as the centrepiece of the Kevin Love trade.

Wiggins averaged 18.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting a career-low 41.2 per cent from the field in 2018-19.

Rosas thinks Wiggins will benefit from playing under Ryan Saunders, who was named the Timberwolves head coach after serving in an interim role to end last season. 

"To be fair to [Wiggins], he needs some continuity in terms of coaching, philosophy, strategy and style of play," Rosas said. "We think he's going to be one of the better beneficiaries of this style of play.

"His physical tools, talent and skill. We do feel there's a lot of upside for him. He's worked very hard this summer. He's been committed to everything that we've done."

The Timberwolves finished 2018-19 with a 36-46 record and missed the playoffs.

 

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