In August, he was given the key to the city for his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, a month later he signed a shoe deal with Chinese sports equipment company Anta, and just last week, in the NBA’s annual general manager’s survey, the 6-foot-5 24-year-old was voted a top breakout candidate for the upcoming season, no doubt due to the bigger role he’ll inherit as Kawhi Leonard rehabs from summer ACL surgery.
“My life has dramatically changed in the last three months for sure,” Mann said after signing with Anta, per the LA Times. “Just obviously after the playoffs was huge recognition everywhere I go.”
The only thing, it seemed, that had stayed the same for Mann was his salary situation—a relatively meager $1.7 million in 2021-22 followed by a $1.9 million team option in 2022-23. But even that has now changed.
On Tuesday, according to multiple sources, Mann and the Clippers agreed to a 2-year, $22 million extension beginning in two seasons. First reported by ESPN’s Marc Spears, the deal will guarantee the former second-round pick $10.5 million in 2023-24 and $11.4 million in 2024-25. His salary for this season and next remain the same.
“It is with tremendous honor and pride that I sign this extension with the Clippers,” Mann told The Undefeated in a statement. “I want to thank the front office for this opportunity to remain a part of the Clipper Nation. I would also like to thank my coaches and teammates for believing me and allowing me to grow both on and off the court.”
Extension is Win-Win
For both player and organization, the deal represents a win.
Mann, the 48th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Florida State who played in 20 G League games his rookie year, can enter this season assured of a nice payday down the line, free perhaps from the pressure of having to perform beyond his current development before what would have been next season’s team option. Mann is excellent defensively and has shown that he can facilitate and finish with regularity in the paint, but his jump shot remains a work in progress and would likely not benefit from any immediate forcing of the issue, particularly given the bounty of shooters already on the roster.
Last season, Mann shot 70.8% at the rim, but from four feet to the 3-point line he was sub-40%. He shot 41.8% from behind the arc but his attempts were on low volume, just 1.4 per game, and most effective from the corners.
Tommy Azarly of Clutch Points, who in August pegged Mann and Luke Kennard as the Clippers biggest X-factors going into the season, said that Mann’s “corner shooting and slashing have become real weapons for the Clippers, but the next step for him will be consistently creating off the bounce — something he’s already shown he can do.” That consistency could eventually materialize this season, but in the meantime, with extension in hand, Mann should feel more comfortable continuing to do what he does best.
For the Clippers organization, they get to keep a high-energy fan-favorite at a bargain-basement price the next two seasons and will save themselves some coin down the road if Mann evolves into a full-blown star in a year or two.
Setting aside improvements as a scorer, Mann’s versatility on defense is particularly valuable for a Clippers team that often goes to a switch-all scheme—his quickness and aggressive athleticism allowing him to check point guards and small forwards alike. But Clippers head coach Ty Lue believes Mann can do even more when it comes to defense, as he discussed recently when asked what he saw as the next phase of Mann’s progress.
“I don’t know what the next step is, to be honest,” Lue said, per the L.A. Times. “But, when he’s on the floor, he makes things happen and we understand that. The biggest thing for me, I think defensively, is just continue getting better, if I had to pick one thing. Being able to guard the point guards and then also being able to guard the bigger players if he has to switch on to a four, be able to guard those guys as well.”
Even in the unlikely event his offensive game remains where it is and he doesn’t incorporate the ability to guard power forwards off switches, what Mann brings to the team in terms of energy and attacking the rim is seemingly well worth a combined $26 million over the next four years.
“He deserves it,” Lue said Tuesday. “When you get a guy like Terance who grinds his way to where he is at today, all the hard work he put in from being a point guard his first year to playing the five last year, making seven 3’s in a close-out game, you’re just happy for guys when they get paid, they get a chance and opportunity to play in this league for a long time. He definitely deserves it.”
Overpaid, Underpaid or Just Right?
As with most everything these days, news of the extension elicited a variety of opinions from social media. Some fans expressed joy at the idea of the Clippers locking down Mann, while others were surprised that Mann signed for what they believe to be a low amount, especially given that teammate Luke Kennard signed a four-year extension before last season for $64 million. After all, the Clippers could have offered Mann a max extension of about $56 million over four years.
But in answering reporters’ questions about the extension on Tuesday, Mann pointed to loyalty and unfinished business as big factors in his agreeing to the deal.
“This is the team that drafted me, so they believed in me from the beginning,” said Mann. “The run we had last year, we didn’t go where we wanted to go, so it left a bitter taste. So just wanting to keep that up, making deep runs in the playoffs, trying to get a ring, staying with these guys.
“These guys helped me out. If it wasn’t for them, like I said last night, I wouldn’t be here. So just being around these guys for a longer period of time, I couldn’t turn that down.”
Of course, some onlookers, presumably those with limited knowledge of Mann’s contributions outside of his modest statistics—7.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists in 18.9 minutes last season—and incredible Game 6 performance, felt the Clippers overpaid.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the extension, one thing is for certain: Mann will have more eyes on him than ever this season.