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NBA AM: Extenstion Talks Cooling In The NBA

NBA teams have until October 31 to reach extension on rookie scale contracts, but the marketplace may not yield much…

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Do The Math:  NBA teams and those players drafted in 2011 who are are on their rookie contracts still have until October 31 to reach rookie scale contract extensions or those players will head to free agency in July. Several of the notable players have gotten deals done already – Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Denver’s Kenneth Faried and Marcus and Markieff Morris in Phoenix – the rest of the class seems to be in a holding pattern as the market has soured somewhat on the rest.

To be fair to the teams negotiating these deals, they are in essence bidding against an artificial market. Agents toss out a number that makes sense to them, or teams offer a number that gives a little bit of a discount to themselves, and then the sides trade scenarios until a deal is reached or not.

In many cases teams look at the free agent deals that got done and try to apply a comparable. Trevor Ariza’s four-year, $32 million deal with Houston in July sort of set the market for defensive minded swingmen, while Faried’s four-year, $50 million deal sort of set the ceiling for big guys.

Historically teams don’t get serious about deals until the eleventh hour, so there is a sense that things are still open, but a number of the notable names have started to shift their focus away from getting a deal now and accepting that free agency in July might be more fruitful.

The other aspect of waiting is that most of the “early” extensions that have gotten done over the last few years have ended up being less than market deals.

There is something to be said about getting security and locking in your future as quickly as you can, however when you look at the four-year, $44 million deal Stephen Curry accepted in 2012, or the four-year, $41 million deal Jrue Holiday accepted that same year – both have radically outplayed their deals, especially compared to free agent deals that got done this summer like Eric Bledsoe’s $70 million deal with Phoenix or Gordan Hayward’s $63 million offer sheet that was matched by Utah.

More and more agents are seeing that the early extension isn’t necessarily the best business deal to be had and are steering their guys clear of low-ball offers.

There will be some pressure on teams as the deadline approaches, mainly because no one wants to have the top restricted free agent come next July when as many as 15 NBA teams could have $20 million or more in useable cap space. However, with restricted free agency, teams do have the option of matching a deal; however, as Hayward’s deal proved it can get more expensive than a deal now.

There is a sense in the marketplace that a couple of the notables will get done before the wire namely San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State’s Klay Thompson, however the rest of the class seems to be 50/50 at best, with many teams holding the line on their offer – although that could change in the coming weeks.

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Mission Accomplished:  The NBA played its experimental 44-minute game yesterday in Brooklyn, and while most people didn’t notice. The four minutes shaved off the game accomplished a couple of things most notable it proved that you can get a NBA game in less than two hours. The 44-minute exhibition game came in at one hour and 58 minutes compared to the four other games played yesterday – 2:17, 2:14, 2:10 and 2:16.

While some have tried to make the idea of trying a shorter game into exploring playing less games – league sources said yesterday that less games has never been a consideration. The same source said that installing a 44-mminute game schedule was not under serious consideration either, but it did give the NBA data and frame of reference to explore it at some point in the future. The league source commented that the NBA has played exhibition games in outdoor venues, and we are not exploring outdoor venue in the sport so the caution point was don’t read too much into trying something different.

For the most part the shorter game went off without much fanfare. The coaches who volunteered to test the game said for the most part nothing really changed.

“You noticed it a little bit when you’re subbing at the start of quarters, but I thought the flow with the one less timeout was actually a little bit better in the second and fourth,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I didn’t notice it other than that.

“I’m looking at the clock and it’s 7 or 6 (minutes remaining) on the clock and I have to get myself back because only 5 minutes have gone off if it says 6 on the clock. That’s a little bit different, but I had it mapped out so I kind of knew what I was going to do.”

There are no plans to conduct other tests of the 44-minute format at this point, and none of the remaining preseason games will use the format.

The 2014-15 Regular season gets underway on October 28.

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Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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