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Scorecard: NBA Draft Class of 2008
Posted By Jason Fleming On January 28, 2012 @ 12:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
For the first-round picks of the NBA Draft class of 2008 the book is just about closed on their rookie scale contracts. Options have been declined and picked up, contracts have been extended, places in rotations have been set, and those who will likely become restricted free agents at the end of June can be defined.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some numbers and what they mean to the Class of 2008.
22: The number of first-round picks who will be eligible to be restricted free agents. Their team must issue a Qualifying Offer by June 30th to make them restricted, giving their team the right to match any offer. The player can also sign the one-year QO, giving them the right to veto any trade and making them unrestricted free agents in 2013.
19: This is the number of the 22 possible restricted free agents who should be issued the QO. It may be easier to list the ones not likely to get one: Marreese Speights (Memphis), Donte’ Greene (Sacramento), and D.J. White (Charlotte).
10: The number of players who have become consistent starters for their teams: Derrick Rose (Chicago), Kevin Love (Minnesota), Russell Westbrook (Seattle*/Oklahoma City), Serge Ibaka (Seattle/Oklahoma City), JaVale McGee (Washington), Roy Hibbert (Indiana), Danilo Gallinari (New York), Brook Lopez (New Jersey), Eric Gordon (New Orleans), and D.J. Augustin (Charlotte).
* At the time of the draft the franchise was still called the Seattle SuperSonics, though the move to Oklahoma City was pretty much a done deal.
9: Of the 30 players drafted in the first round in 2008, only ten players are still with the team who made the pick. Some of these players were traded at the draft (Kevin Love and O.J. Mayo, for example) and some of them more recently, like George Hill. Here are the 10 players still playing for their original team: Rose (Chicago), Westbrook (Seattle/Oklahoma City), Augustin (Charlotte), Lopez (New Jersey), Jason Thompson (Sacramento), Robin Lopez (Phoenix), Hibbert (Indiana), McGee (Washington), and Ibaka (Seattle/Oklahoma City).
6: The number of players in the class traded more than once. Jerry Bayless was traded from Indiana to Portland on draft night, then later traded to New Orleans and moved on to Toronto. Brandon Rush went from Portland to Indiana in that same draft night deal and last month was traded to Golden State. Anthony Randolph was traded to New York after two years in Golden State and after less than a season moved on to Minnesota. Courtney Lee reached the NBA Finals as a rookie starter for Orlando, then was traded to New Jersey and later again to Houston. Koufos was drafted by Utah and then traded to Minnesota in the Al Jefferson deal, then moved on to Denver where he has found a home. D.J. White was drafted by Detroit and traded to Oklahoma City, then eventually moved to Charlotte in the Nazr Mohammed deal.
5: This is how many players in the class signed early extensions to their rookie scale deal. In Chicago Derrick Rose earned the extra max (a deal starting at 30% of the cap) by virtue winning the 2011 NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook signed a five-year max deal at 25% of the cap with Oklahoma City, and Kevin Love signed a four-year max deal at 25% of the cap in Minnesota. In addition, Denver signed Danilo Gallinari to a four-year extension and Kosta Koufos to a three-year deal. All told those deals add up to $289.2 million.
4: All-Star Game appearances by this class in their first three years. Rose has earned it twice, plus one each for Love and Westbrook. All three figure to once again be All-Stars in 2012, so bump this to seven.
3: Number of players who didn’t reach the end of their rookie scale deal. Alexis Ajinca, J.R. Giddens and Joe Alexander are no longer in the league.
1: MVPs won by this class – the aforementioned Rose.
So why weren’t there more extensions?
There was a lot of buzz about players getting extensions right up until the January 25th deadline, most notably surround Nic Batum in Portland, but also around players like Gordon in New Orleans and Hibbert in Indy who are key pieces of their team’s success. Let’s take a closer look at why these three didn’t get extended.
Gordon: Until he was traded from the L.A. Clippers in the Chris Paul deal a long-term extension for a lot of dollars seemed very likely. Last season he posted a scoring average of 22.3 a game and on the open market would become the top priority for a lot of teams with the market in shooting guards slumping. As the most important piece returned for Paul, one would think locking up Gordon would be a priority. That would be true if the owner was anyone other than the NBA itself. As the league preps the Hornets to be sold to a true owner, they are being conscious of long-term salary commitments and want that owner to make the decision to take on the money Gordon will cost. As a result he will now hit restricted free agency and the new owner – assuming the Hornets are sold by the end of June – will face a decision of whether or not to match a very, very large offer to Gordon.
Hibbert: Usually when you have a center averaging 14.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and shooting 53% from the field you do whatever it takes to keep him long term, yet the Pacers didn’t do that with Hibbert. Why? This is a strategic decision. As it stands now the team will issue a $3.7 million Qualifying Offer by the end of June (unless something crazy happens), and Hibbert will have a salary cap hold of $7.7 million. That number is lower than Hibbert’s market value as a player who quite possibly could be an All-Star as early as this season. If the Pacers had agreed to a deal with Hibbert now, it likely would have been at an average of at least $10 million. Why is that important? Without Hibbert on the books they have just $36.2 million committed for the 2012-13 season. Add in Hibbert’s cap hold and that number moves to $43.9 million. Depending on what they do with their other free agents – players like George Hill – the Pacers could still have about $14 million in cap space to work with. And, in fact, they are already rumored to be very interested in Eric Gordon, who could be the missing piece in a lineup of Hibbert, Danny Granger, David West and Darren Collison. Not extending Hibbert now was all about preserving flexibility for next summer, when they may be able to do other business and then extend Hibbert at his market value of $10 million or more.
Batum: Just about every team in the NBA has called the Portland Trail Blazers asking about what it would take to get Batum. His athleticism, defense, shooting, passing and ability to get to the hoop when his head is right leaves many teams drooling at the possibilities. He knows that and his agent knows that. On the open market teams would be making offers for him to start for them, most likely in the same ranges as the deals Danilo Gallinari (four years, $42 million) and Arron Afflalo (five years, $39 million) signed in Denver. From the perspective of Batum and his agent these are the dollars Portland should have offered. Instead, Portland offered lower numbers, based on the fact that for them at this point Batum is a sixth man, coming off the bench behind Gerald Wallace and Wes Matthews. Plus, like Indy, the Blazers hope to have cap space next summer (they have just $41.9 million in commitments) and Batum’s cap hold is just $6.5 million (his QO is $3.2 million), so giving Batum that amount of money now doesn’t make fiscal sense. It wasn’t what Batum or his agent wanted to hear, but it was the smart move for the team.
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