As training camp looms, franchises around the league have big financial decisions to make regarding their respective members of the 2012 rookie class. Some guys have already inked new deals while others are looking to secure their first post-rookie-deal payday.
Let’s take a look at the status of the 2012 first-round lottery picks. Remember, teams have until the end of October to ink these guys or they’ll head to (restricted, in most cases) free agency next summer.
- Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Status: Signed. Five-years, $145 million
The Pelicans wasted no time agreeing to terms with Davis as soon as free agency opened back in July. The reason is simple. Davis has the tools to be in the MVP discussion for the foreseeable future and is just scratching the surface of his potential. Davis is truly a franchise player and now it’s time for general manager Dell Demps to field a title-worthy supporting cast behind his star.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Hornets
Status: Signed. Four-years, $52 million
There’s a pretty big gap between the aforementioned Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist, but the No. 2 overall pick is undoubtedly a key cog in Charlotte’s future. The Hornets are 62-55 when Kidd-Gilchrist is in the starting lineup the past two seasons, but just 14-33 without him. While some argue Kidd-Gilchrist could have earned more next summer, some players don’t want to take the risk.
- Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
According to CSN Mid-Atlantic, there’s no movement at the moment on a new deal for Beal. The player is seeking a max deal and after contributing to the Wizards’ past two playoff runs he has a bit of leverage. Beal is one of the better up-and-coming shooting guards in the league so it’s hard to envision a scenario where he doesn’t ultimately cash in.
- Dion Waiters, Oklahoma City
Three somewhat lackluster pro campaigns in the books for Waiters and it remains unclear if the Thunder will bid against themselves to extend the guard early or if he’s part of their long-term plans.
- Thomas Robinson, Brooklyn Nets
Status: Not Applicable
Robinson is not eligible for a contract extension being that he’s already hit free agency after stints with Sacramento, Portland, Houston and Philadelphia. Robinson signed a two-year deal with Brooklyn this summer.
- Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Status: Signed. Five-years, $120 million
Signed. Sealed. Delivered. With All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge now in San Antonio, the Portland Trail Blazers are officially Lillard’s team. Let’s see if he has franchise player chops without another marquee player on the roster.
- Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
The defending champions have a huge decision to make on the wing. Barnes has been a solid presence as their starting small forward but the franchise has multiple players making (or in line for) huge paydays. Where does Barnes fit with other suitors likely willing to open up the piggybank next summer when the salary cap rises?
- Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
Never a good sign when a team invests $60 million to another player at your same position in free agency. That’s what the Raptors did by bringing in DeMarre Carroll, which will undoubtedly impact Ross’ role in the nightly rotation and possibly his market value.
- Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons lost big man Greg Monroe to Milwaukee in free agency so there seems to be little doubt Drummond will eventually get a very handsome new deal. The question just comes down to when. Pistons ownership has spoken very highly of Drummond and there’s no reason to believe something won’t get done before the end of October deadline.
- Austin Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers
Status: Not Applicable
11.Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers
A seven footer with three-point range and the ability to create spacing has value, but at the price point the Blazers could just take the chance and match any deal Leonard would get next summer in “restricted” free agency.
- Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte Hornets
Lamb hasn’t had the opportunity to fully showcase his talents since entering the league. Most of that is due to playing behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. In Charlotte, Lamb figures to get more of an opportunity but an early extension here appears unlikely.
- Kendall Marshall, Free Agent
Status: Not Applicable
14. John Henson, Milwaukee Bucks
Henson is developing into a solid shot blocker, but has also missed at least 10 games in each of his first three seasons. Depending on the type of money Henson and his camp are seeking, Milwaukee may opt to play the waiting game on the forward.
Outside of the draft lottery
- Tyler Zeller, Boston Celtics
Zeller isn’t projected to be a star, but he is developing into a durable and productive big man. Expect the Celtics to take a long look at extending Zeller early, but it all comes down to price point. Boston doesn’t have to bid high early and could see what his market value is next summer in free agency.
- Terrence Jones, Houston Rockets
The Rockets are gearing up for a title run and Jones is expected to the team’s starting power forward on opening night. Seems like a perfect situation for Jones to state his case to get an early big payday.
- Festus Ezeli, Golden State Warriors
Don’t let the pedestrian averages fool you, Ezeli definitely has upside. But with Golden State already top heavy against the cap and a decision still to be made on Harrison Barnes, Ezeli may be playing the waiting game.
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