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NBA AM: Will Kenneth Faried’s Deal Be The Domino?

The Nuggets and Faried reached terms on an extension; will his deal help the next wave get done?

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Faried Reaches A Deal, Who Is Next?:  Denver Nuggets big man Kenneth faired reached a deal with the Denver Nuggets on a new five-year, $60 million deal, which according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is guaranteed to pay out $52 million, as the final year is a partial guarantee.

Faried was one of several 2011 Draftees negotiating terms on a rookie scale extension. Last week the Phoenix Suns reached multi-year deals with both Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris, who agreed to a four-year, $32 million and a four-year, $20 million deal, respectively.

Several other member of the ’11 draft class are at the table. Here is what we know about most of them:

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota

While Rubio was not a 2011 draftee, he is eligible for a rookie scale extension after joining the Wolves two years after being drafted in 2009. The Wolves and Rubio have been talking and it seems both sides would like to reach a deal. Given the stance both parties have on reaching a deal, an extension seems more likely than not. The biggest issue for the Wolves is length of the deal, with reports saying the Wolves want a four-year pact, while Rubio naturally wants as long a term deal as possible, especially if the Wolves are not going to offer a full max contract.

It seems likely that a deal with Rubio is going to get reached, the question is how much and how long? It seems everyone involved understands the price on Rubio likely goes up if he hits restricted free agency next July. This one isn’t a home run, but it does look promising for a deal to be reached.

Enes Kanter, Utah

The Jazz and Kanter are talking extension, which might be surprising for Jazz fans that have been less than enamored with the Turkish big man. This isn’t a case of offering major money, rather a case of locking in a player the Jazz like and continue to see promise in. This one will come down to years and dollars, and if Marcus Morris’ deal is the barometer, something in the $25-$30 million over four or five years seems like the price point Utah would do a deal on.

Kanter’s camp has to weigh the option of testing free agency in July, or locking in Kanter’s future today. If Kanter comes at a discount, he could get a deal before the deadline.

Tristian Thompson, Cleveland

Word is Thompson and the Cavs are tabling extension talks, with some reports saying both sides haven’t engaged in talks at all. However, sources close to the Cavs say that there has been an open two-way conversation on a Thompson extension and that the team remains committed to Thompson as a long-term member of the Cavs. Not doing an extension now is more about keeping the Cavs’ flexibility to add players next summer, with Thompson likely getting the wink-nod on a new deal after the Cavs take care of business in July.

Don’t read into a lack of a deal now as lack of interest long-term, the Cavs’ plan to manage their cap carefully to ensure they can continue to add players and talent. Thompson will have full Bird rights, so after the Cavs complete their business next summer Thompson likely gets his payday after proving some things this summer.

Brandon Knight, Milwaukee

The Bucks and Brandon Knight have talked contract extension. The Bucks like Knight a great deal and with new head coach Jason Kidd looking for guys to build around, Knight is viewed as one of them. Eric Bledsoe’s $70 million, five-year deal with Phoenix set the high end of the contract bar for guards, but word is the Bucks and Knight are talking about a deal in the $7-$8 million a season range. The question becomes can Knight’s camp nudge that number higher or are they better off letting the season play out and see what restricted free agency brings.

There is an interest from the Bucks in doing a new deal, but it does not seem like they are going to go nuts on Knight, but that could change as the deadline gets closer.

Kemba Walker, Charlotte

Very much like Brandon Knight, the Hornets would like to do a new deal with Kemba Walker, but like Knight, the Eric Bledsoe deal may have skewed the market value. Walker and Bledsoe logged similar numbers last season, and the Hornets had one of the best seasons in franchise history, so Walker’s camp has a lot of reason to push for the bigger number.

Walker has become the player the Hornets hoped he’d be, so the question is do they pay him now or wait and let restricted free agency set a price that could be higher? Kenneth Faried’s deal might have put some perspective on the situation, but it seems like Walker is willing to play this out, even if it means waiting out this season.

Both sides seem open to a deal, so the atmosphere for a deal is there. Four years and $40-$45 million seems like the number that gets done.

Klay Thompson, Golden State

Thompson and the Warriors have been talking extension for most of the summer and it seems that a deal between both sides is likely. The terms on a potential pact are not clear yet, though.

A likely deal should come in close to where Faried landed, four-five years at $12 million plus per season.

There was talk that Thompson and his camp were seeking a max level deal, however it seems unlikely that a max deal gets reached before the deadline.

Alex Burks, Utah

Like Kanter, the Jazz are talking with Burks on a new deal. They’d like to keep him long-term, but only at the right price. Burks is unlikely to get a major dollar deal, however both sides are talking and a deal is not out of the realm of possibility.

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio

The Faried deal should help get a Leonard deal a little closer. His camp is seeking a max level offer; it’s likely that the Spurs and Leonard reach a deal just under that, which is typical of the Spurs’ process.

Both sides want to reach a deal and the process is playing out, so Leonard reaching a new deal before the deadline seems likely.

Nikola Vucevic, Orlando

The Magic and Vucevic are talking. The Faried deal should help set a ceiling on an early extension for Vucevic. The Magic’s stance has been to try and reach a deal before the deadline, but the Magic have made it clear that if they do not reach a deal now, they would extend the qualifying offer and focus on reaching or matching a deal next summer. The number that makes the most sense for Orlando is something in the $10-$11 million per season range. The question is will Vucevic take a deal structured that way or will he wait for restricted free agency and try to swell that number upwards?

Tobias Harris, Orlando

The Markieff Morris deal didn’t help Harris’ case for a bigger payday. $8 million per year seems like the right number, however, the question is will Harris look at this season as a case to play his value upwards or will he take a deal in the $30 million range? Like Vucevic, the Magic are talking to him and they’d like to reach a deal, but are in no hurry to outbid themselves. If the Magic do not reach a deal before the deadline, they will look to restrict Harris’ free agency and revisit contract talks next summer.

Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City

Jackson and the Thunder have been talking about an extension. The problem for the Thunder is that Jackson is seeking starting point guard money, and that may not work for the Thunder. If something can get done in the $7-$8 million a year range, it seems likely the Thunder make a deal. If they don’t reach a deal before, expect them to restrict Jackson’s free agency and resume talks in July.

Jimmy Butler, Chicago

The Bulls started things in the $7-$8 million per year range and with Markieff Morris taking a deal in that range, Butler may have to play out the season if he wants something significantly higher. It doesn’t hurt Butler’s case that head coach Tom Thibodeau has become a big advocate of his and he led the team in minutes played last year.

The Bulls and Butler want to reach a deal; the question is will it clock in over the $8 million per year believed to be on the table? A strong preseason could go a long way towards cementing the right number. Something in the four-year, $35-$40 million range likely gets done.

NBA teams have until October 31 to reach rookie scale extensions before talks must close and discussions can resume in July. If a team does not reach a deal before the deadline, they still have the option to restrict a player’s free agency with a qualifying offer, which most of the players on the list above would likely receive. Historically, a flurry of deals have gotten done in the 11th hour over the last few years, so while some deals are getting done now, don’t mistake a deal today as lack of progress or interest. The calendar tends to favor the team in this situation.

New TV Deal Done?:  The NBA is expected to announce today it has reached new deals with its media partners. It’s expected that new long-terms deals with Turner Sports and ESPN/ABC would swell the annual rights fees that the league collects from the estimated $930 million a year to well over $2.6 billion per year. The deal is expected to run through the 2024-2025 season and is estimated to be worth more than $24 billion.

One aspect of the new deal according to the Wall Street Journal is that the NBA and ESPN will launch a joint online venture that will allow non-cable subscribers to gain access to NBA games online.

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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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