No Deal, No Worries: The deadline for NBA teams to reach rookie-scale contract extensions with the 2012 class expires today, and while there has been a lot of talk about possible deadline deals, it seems the only one that is getting done at the wire is Jeremy Lamb reaching terms on a a three-year, $21 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
On the surface, $21 million for Lamb seems a bit high. However, when you consider that Charlotte has $34 million in firm salary cap commitments next season, and a likely cap of closer to $40-$45 million depending on which options they keep, the Hornets are looking at the possibility of less cap room than most – especially if they hold on to the cap holds of Al Jefferson ($20.250 million) and Nic Batum $19.687 million).
While the Hornets did reach a deal, most of the other notables did not and that’s not altogether surprising.
Andre Drummond has an extremely cap friend cap hold, which will allow the Detroit Pistons to spend potentially $30 million in cap space next summer and then exceed the cap using Drummond’s bird rights. There is very little doubt Drummond remains with the Pistons; not doing a deal now was about preserving cap space.
The Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal are in a similar situation. Beal is seeking a max deal, but even his $14+ million cap hold is cheaper against the cap than doing a deal now. The Wizards have every intention of retaining Beal, but they also have eyes on the 2016 NBA free agent class, namely Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant. Doing a deal with Beal now wouldn’t have blocked a Durant pitch, but waiting allows the Thunder lot of options if they can indeed get to the Durant table in July.
There were a few second-tier talents that were talking extension this week, but failed to reach a deal.
The Thunder seemed open to an extension with guard Dion Waiters, but ultimately his camp is hoping for the ballooning salary cap in the NBA to create a better market for Waiters. His side ultimately passed on a Thunder friendly deal.
Golden State Warriors big man Festus Ezeli was nearing a deal, according to sources close to the process, but a last minute overview from Ezeli’s agent swayed the big man into waiting and seeing what free agency next summer brings rather than doing what some have called a Warriors friendly deal.
The Orlando Magic did have talks with both guard Evan Fournier and big man Andrew Nicholson, but sources close to both said the talks never really went in the direction of a deal and both players had been planning for restricted free agency in July.
Not reaching a deal, is not in and of itself a bad thing, especially for the players. Over the last five season, players who have signed non-maximum deals have often outplayed those contracts in a fairly significant way. Equally, very few players that “rolled the dice” on themselves usually end up in a better situation.
Last October, both Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler and Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris passed on what at the time seemed like enormous contracts, only to find maximum money waiting for them this past summer.
That’s the pitch the agents make to their clients and why so many walked away from lucrative extension offers, hoping that the ballooning NBA economy and the chance at restricted free agency could yield a better deal.
Not reaching a deal does not necessarily mean any of the players involved are leaving as free agents; in fact, most of them are likely signed without much free agent fanfare in July once their parent teams address other free agent goals.
For the rest, they will likely be restricted free agents and their home teams always have the option of matching any new numbers that get put on the table.
What’s Wrong With the Rockets? Things have not gone as planned for the Houston Rockets. After obtaining point guard Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets during the summer, the Rockets were supposed to have added the final piece to a serious contender.
After three games, the Rockets have found out two glaring issues: they can’t score and they can’t defend.
Word from the Rockets side of things is that guys are simply being too unselfish and no one seems to be able to get going offensively. That’s led to forced shots that are burning the Rockets on the other end.
While three games isn’t necessarily a tremendous sample size – however starting the season 0-3 in the West isn’t ideal, especially if the ship in Houston does not start to turn. A 10-game skid in the West could become a hole that becomes very hard to climb out of.
The Rockets have a tremendous amount of talent, and with James Harden’s ability to erupt at any given point no one inside the locker room is panicking yet. However, there is a lot of head scratching as the Rockets players have figured out how to shake their funk and that could be a problem if things don’t turn around quickly.
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