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NBA AM: Is it Time For An Extension?

Rookie scale contract extensions are starting to drop. Who else is in line for a deal?

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Extension Time:  When free agency opened in July, two of the biggest stars of the 2012 draft reached immediate extension deals; the New Orleans Pelicans agreed to a five-year, max deal with top overall pick Anthony Davis that could be worth as much as $145 million, depending on where the salary cap gets set in 2016 when the extension begins, while the Portland Trail Blazers inked sixth overall pick Damian Lillard to a five-year, $120 million deal.

Things on the extension front settled down a bit with Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas reaching a four-year, $64 million deal to remain in Toronto last week. While drafted in 2011, Valanciunas started his NBA career in 2012 making him extension eligible this summer.

Last night, reports surfaced of a deal between the Charlotte Hornets and second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist said to be worth $52 million over four seasons.

Here are some of the other notable extension eligible players:

Bradley Beal – Third Overall – Washington Wizards

Word is the Wizards and Beal have been talking extension all summer and while a deal has not been finalized, there is a sense that both sides will agree to something before the October 31st deadline. There was talk of a deal in the max range, but given the deals that have gotten done, namely Lillard’s $120 million deal, the bar on absolute max might be a little too high to get a deal done without a trip through restricted free agency.

Both sides seem like they want to make a deal, and that’s usually a good sign toward reaching one.

Dion Waiters – Fourth Overall – Oklahoma City Thunder

Sources close to the process say the Thunder would be open to a rookie scale extension this summer for Waiters but it would have to be a something of a discount to the Thunder. There is a sense that Waiters may want to wait out the season and see if he can play himself into the next salary tier as a deal now might not be at the dollar amount Waiters could command even as a restricted free agent.

Harrison Barnes – Sixth Overall – Golden State Warriors

The Warriors would like to get a deal done with Barnes, but given the money they have shelled out to Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, a Barnes extension has to be at the right price. Like Waiters, it may be smarter for Barnes to wait and see what the market sets his price at.

Terrence Ross – Eighth Overall – Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have been talking with Ross for most of the summer and there is a sense that a deal will get reached before the deadline. With Kidd-Gilchrist coming off the board at $52 million, a base-line of sorts is there for Ross and that should help expedite a deal. If Ross and his camp are seeking more than MKG got, then a trip through restricted free agency might become necessary.

Andre Drummond – Ninth Overall Detroit Pistons

The word was Drummond and the Pistons were progressing toward a deal. With Davis getting max money and Valanciunas’ new deal coming in at a starting salary of $14.38 million, the bar is basically set for a deal, somewhere between the expected $20.5 million Davis should land and what Valanciunas got; the question is, will the Pistons agree to max now or wait a year and match a max offer next summer?

John Henson – 14th Overall – Milwaukee Bucks

Henson and the Bucks have had on-going talks about an extension. Sources close to the process say there is a deal there if Henson wants it, but there is a sense from his side of wanting to see how the extension market plays out. There is a domino effect when it comes to early rookie scale deals that sort of sets the bar and while the Bucks seem open to a deal, it won’t be at any price at this point, mainly because they can match larger offers next year if it comes to that.

Tyler Zeller – 17th Overall – Boston Celtics

The Celtics and Zeller have talked about a deal and there is a belief if Zeller wants to lock in security, the C’s would be open to a deal. The problem is if Zeller wants to maximize his value he may have to take a trip through restricted free agency. There is a deal possible between Zeller and the Celtics; it’s about 50/50, according to sources close to the process.

Terrence Jones – 17th Overall – Houston Rockets

Like Zeller, there is a deal to be had for Jones if he wants to lock in security, but Houston has a long track record of making guys set their value in restricted free agency and given where the Rockets are cap wise, locking in Jones now does not make a lot of sense, especially if they are setting a top end salary value. It is more likely than not that Jones is a restricted free agent next summer, but a deal is not out of the question before the deadline in October.

Evan Fournier – 20th Overall – Orlando Magic

Sources close to the process say it is possible that Fournier and the Magic reach a deal before the end of training camp. Both sides seem to be talking the same kinds of valuation, the question is will Fournier take his money now or follow in the footsteps of teammate Tobias Harris and see if the market can push him higher than the Magic’s valuation? There is a sense this one could get done, but with a ballooning cap and a crowd developing around Fournier’s position, it’s possible Fournier waits out the season and ensures his value and role make sense going forward.

Festus Ezeli – 30th Overall – Golden State Warriors

There is a deal to be had here if Ezeli wants it, as sources near the situation say the Warriors would do a multi-year extension at the right price. But if Ezeli wants to maximize his earnings, it may not happen this summer and it may not happen in Golden State. This one seems unlikely unless Ezeli wants to offer the hometown discount and ensure he’s part of the future in Golden State.

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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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