Up and Coming NBA Players Primed for Contract Extensions
Every season is a chance for young NBA players to prove their value on the open market.
It allows their respective team to project how much long term potential they have to offer, as well as what type of salary they deserve when compared to other contracts throughout the league.
This year, there’s a whopping amount of up-and-coming players that could wind up signing contract extensions early, which would prevent them from becoming restricted free agents in the summer.
So with about 10 weeks left until the start of the regular season and the annual extension deadline, here’s a list of players that could be locked in to long term deals relatively soon.
(Just as a side note, those who qualified for this list were under the age of 25 and have yet to make an All-Star appearance)
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic has slowly but surely earned a reputation as one of the more consistent young centers in the league, averaging a double-double for the last 2 seasons and becoming a more than suitable replacement for ex-Magic center Dwight Howard.
According to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, both the Magic and Vucevic have shown interest in agreeing to a long term deal, and are expected to begin negotiations in early September.
“The Orlando Magic likely will begin talking with Nik Vucevic’s representatives about a potential contract extension for the 23-year-old center around Labor Day, according to an industry source familiar with team officials’ thinking.”
With centers like Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah and DeAndre Jordan earning $11-15 million a year, expect Vucevic to ink a similar deal, given his stat line and relatively young age.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Despite the fact that the shooting guard position has slowly dwindled over the last few years, Klay Thompson has become one of the few bright spots at the position, averaging 18.4 points per game last season and evolving into a force on the defensive end as well.
This alone is exactly why Thompson’s agent Bill Duffy is seeking a max contract extension from the Warriors, according to USA Today:
Thompson’s agent, Bill Duffy, has been seeking a max deal in extension talks with the Warriors as well. And while Golden State would surely prefer that the stance eventually softens and leads to a more palatable deal, the fact that he is younger means a max for Thompson would start at $15.7 million
It’s fair to see why Thompson wants a max deal, especially since other guards like Eric Gordon and Gordon Hayward were able to ink similar deals. The key to getting this extension done will be whether or not the Warrior’s brass is willing to shell out a max contract this early.
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
It’s tough to gauge what type of deal the Spurs would be willing to give to Kawhi Leonard, as he’s shown both glimpses of stardom and mediocrity throughout his 3 year career.
Much of that inconsistency can be attributed to the fact that Leonard is playing with legends like Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Tim Duncan, however it’s still questionable if he truly has what it takes to be the go-to guy on offense.
So far Leonard’s agent Michael Siegel has remained confident that he can convince the Spurs to sign him to a max contract, the problem is, cap restraints may hold the team back from offering that large of a deal.
“Simply put, an extension guarantees the Spurs five years of Leonard but takes them out of the run for the top free agents they would need if they hope to replace the production of Duncan and Ginobili.”
Now it’s up to the Spurs and Leonard to come up with a solution to this issue, however, I’ve still got a feeling San Antonio won’t risk losing him as a restricted free agent.
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Kenneth Faried has been a surprisingly productive player ever since he joined the Nuggets back in 2011, holding career averages of 12.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Now with Faried’s rookie contract set to expire after this season, the team is hoping to sign the power forward to a contract extension before the deadline, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post:
The Nuggets plan to make Kenneth Faried a long-term fixture of their future by opening contract extension talks with the power forward and his agent, Thad Foucher, this summer.
“We’ll talk to his representation,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly told the Post. ” I think Kenneth is happy here. I think he’s really embraced what (Coach) Brian (Shaw) is trying to instill. Those are the type of guys that deserve to get paid.”
It’s unclear how much management will shell out to keep Faried in Denver, but you have to believe they’ll do everything in their power, especially if their long term goal is to remain in the playoff hunt for the foreseeable future.