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Who Deserves An Early Extension?
Posted By Jason Fleming On December 11, 2011 @ 4:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
Every fall NBA teams have a decision to make. Well, they have plenty of decisions, but one in particular is what to do about players on rookie scale contracts who are beginning their fourth season in the NBA. This is when teams can first make them offers to lock them into long-term extensions and completely avoid the player hitting the free agent market, restricted or otherwise.
Normally teams have until the end of October to negotiate with a player on a long-term deal, but because of the lockout that date this year is January 25, 2012 – a month after the regular season begins. The NBA likely granted this much longer window because of the craziness going on now, with teams scrambling to fill out their rosters as free agency and training camps began at the same time.
Still, it’s something to think about. Looking at the first-round picks from the 2008 NBA Draft, which players should be given extensions early? (For reference, here is a link to the 2008 NBA Draft results, courtesy to nbadraft.net.)
Three players can be removed right away: Joe Alexander, Alexis Ajinca and J.R. Giddens. Alexander and Giddens didn’t make it even to their third season, let alone have his option picked up for season four (2011-12). Ajinca made it three seasons, but didn’t have his fourth year picked up.
We’ll divide up the other 28 players (Rudy Fernandez, drafted in 2007 but making his debut in 2008, makes this group 31 rather than 30) into a few groups:
Locks: These players need to be locked up immediately, no messing around.
If The Price Is Right: The team wants the player long term, but isn’t ready to break the bank.
Wait And See: Team is still undecided and how the player produces in Year 4 will go a long way to determining the approach taken next summer.
The Rest: These players may or may not get a Qualifying Offer by the end of next June. If they do, it’s definitely not a given they stay.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: A max extension is a lock for Rose. Also, as the namesake of the “Derrick Rose Provision” he gets a max number of 30% of the cap instead of just 25%.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: Provided the Thunder don’t mess around with numbers, Westbrook should be a slam dunk extension, too. Considering he also could qualify for the 30% (as did teammate Kevin Durant), doesn’t that kind of production demand a max offer?
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Is Love worth a max deal? If the Wolves say yes he will sign. If they start to hedge he will politely decline and look towards restricted free agency in 2012, where plenty of teams will be happy to offer him max money.
Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers: Is Gordon a max player? Without a doubt the Clips need to lock him up long-term and he’s one of the better shooting guards in the league, but max might be too high. How about four years and $50 million? Of course, if he hits the market in 2012 max offers may come in and the Clips will have to match anyway to keep him.
If The Price Is Right
Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets: Gallo is a very good player, but so far not a great one. The Nuggets can’t allow him to leave Denver – unless he adamantly wants to go somewhere else – because if they do, then what do they have to show for Carmelo Anthony?
Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets: On almost any other team Lopez would be up in the higher group; his production says so. He’s not perfect and could rebound a ton better, but he’s a very good NBA center. He won’t get the deal because he’s being dangled for Dwight Howard, but if he is traded (to Orlando?) his new team will look to lock him up.
Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers: His numbers have improved each season and he plays the most difficult position to fill. Relative to the market an extension starting at less than $10 million per season may be a steal.
JaVale McGee, Washington Wizards: McGee receives a lot of hype, but when he’s not at quite the same level as Lopez or Hibbert. Still, he is a very good defensive center and could be the big man in the middle for a very athletic Wizards team for a long time. If he asks for a deal starting at more than $8 million expect the Wizards to wait until next summer and check out the market.
Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder: Ibaka’s thunderous dunks have made him a highlight staple, but there are still many holes in his game. He may also view his value as higher than the team does. They want to keep him, but if his demands are too high will probably wait.
Nic Batum, Portland Trail Blazers: Working out an extension for Batum is one of Portland’s priorities right now. With only one open roster spot expected to go to a $3 million (mine MLE) free agent, they can then focus on Batum. They know teams will be after him in free agency so may look to lock him up on a four-year deal around $30 million. What is his market value? Look at the deal Marcus Thornton signed in Sacramento and see how much Arron Afflalo receives.
Wait And See
Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves: On the right team Beasley could be a long-term impact player, but with the addition of Derrick Williams Minnesota probably isn’t that team.
O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies: Mayo has the talent to be a starting guard in the NBA, but he won’t get that shot in Memphis. He’s a prime sign-and-trade candidate next summer.
Jerryd Bayless, Toronto Raptors: Bayless played very well at point guard for the Raptors after coming from New Orleans. The Raps want to see him do that for a full season.
Anthony Randolph, Minnesota Timberwolves: Randolph, like Beasley, could be an impact player. The question is how much chance of that will he get in Minnesota behind Love, sharing minutes with Beasley and Williams?
Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic: The question is can Anderson be a starter, and if not then what’s his market value? He’s an excellent offensive player and can play two positions.
Courtney Lee, Houston Rockets: Lee’s minutes went way down in Houston. If Kevin Martin is indeed traded to the New Orleans Hornets as part of the Chris Paul trade, he could get another shot at starting.
George Hill, Indiana Pacers: The Pacers acquired Hill to be a third guard and possible start at the two. Giving him extension before they see him play much with the team probably isn’t a good idea, but they may get convinced to his value quickly.
Darrell Arthur, Memphis Grizzlies: Arthur is a very capable power forward, but as long as he plays behind Zach Randolph he won’t get extensive minutes.
D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats: His value was higher until the Cats drafted Kemba Walker. Now it seems unlikely he’s around beyond 2011-12.
Jason Thompson, Sacramento Kings: He posted his worst numbers of his three-year career last season as his minutes shrunk. With the additions of J.J. Hickson and Chuck Hayes it’ll be hard to improve them.
Brandon Rush, Indiana Pacers: He shot 42% from three-point range last season, yet the Pacers actively went after Hill and are looking for another shooting guard.
Robin Lopez, Phoenix Suns: Beside Amar’e Stoudemire Lopez was the perfect fit. He can defend and rebound, but isn’t an offensive player. Lopez needs the right situation and that doesn’t seem to be in Phoenix anymore.
Marreese Speights, Philadelphia 76ers: His value is higher when he’s not stuck behind Elton Brand.
J.J. Hickson, Sacramento Kings: Hickson could very well be the starter at power forward, but the Kings need to see what he can do first.
Rudy Fernandez, Dallas Mavericks: The chances of Fernandez being in the NBA beyond this season are very low. He signed a long-term deal in Spain during the lockout with an NBA-out to finish out his NBA contract.
Kosta Koufos, Denver Nuggets: Has scored 437 points in three seasons with three different teams. If he can be a long-term NBA player he may get a shot to prove it this season.
Donte’ Greene, Sacramento Kings: Greene has been inconsistent with the Kings and needs to prove he can be an everyday contributor to earn a long-term deal.
D.J. White, Charlotte Bobcats: White has dealt with a lot in his three seasons in the NBA, but in Charlotte he may have found a home. In his 24 games after being traded from Oklahoma City he scored in double figures nine times.
Depending on what each of their teams does in the next few days in free agency that could change the role of some of these players – or if they get traded – and they may move up or down a grouping. Either way, the class of 2008 seems in good position to make a lasting impact on the NBA.
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