Teams With Designated Players

October 6 2012 at 2:06pm CST By Chuck Myron

The October 31st deadline for teams with players eligible to extend their rookie-scale contracts is drawing near, and as it does, the new CBA provides an extra wrinkle to consider. Teams can only agree a five-year rookie-scale extension with one player, known as the "designated player" in CBA parlance. As long as the designated player is on the roster, none of the team's other first-round picks nearing the end of their original deals may receive an extension of longer than four years.

The Thunder, for instance, are barred from giving James Harden a fifth year in an extension because they agreed to a five-year extension with Russell Westbrook in January. If they had that option, it would have given Oklahoma City an opportunity to spread out Harden's cap hit over one more season, easing the team's luxury tax concerns.

Teams can acquire one more designated player via trade, and extensions signed under the old CBA are grandfathered in. The latter exception explains how Westbrook was able to get a five-year extension after Kevin Durant had already signed a five-year extension in 2010. Still, the rule presents a challenge for teams like the Thunder who have built through the draft.

Only three teams have designated players so far, with more likely by the end of the month. Here's a breakdown of those teams, and how the five-year extensions they've handed out limit them in the future:

BullsDerrick Rose (signed five-year extension on December 11th, 2011 that runs through 2017)
Others limited to rookie-scale extension of four years or fewer:

  • Taj Gibson (extension-eligible in 2012)
  • Jimmy Butler (extension-eligible in 2014)
  • Marquis Teague (extension-eligible in 2015)
  • Any first-round pick the team adds next summer will be ineligible for a five-year extension as well, since he'd be eligible for an extension in 2016, when Rose is still under his extension.

ThunderRussell Westbrook (signed five-year extension on January 19th, 2012 that runs through 2017)
Others limited to rookie-scale extension of four years or fewer:

  • James Harden (extension-eligible in 2012)
  • Eric Maynor (extension-eligible in 2012)
  • Cole Aldrich (extension-eligible in 2013)
  • Lazar Hayward (extension-eligible in 2013)
  • Reggie Jackson (extension-eligible in 2014)
  • Perry Jones (extension-eligible in 2015)
  • Any first-round pick the team adds next summer will be ineligible for a five-year extension as well, since he'd be eligible for an extension in 2016, when Westbrook is still under his extension. 

Clippers — Blake Griffin (signed five-year extension on July 11th, 2012 that runs through 2018)
Others limited to rookie-scale extension of four years or fewer:

  • Eric Bledsoe (extension-eligible in 2013)
  • Any first-round picks the team adds next summer and in will 2014 be ineligible for a five-year extension as well, since they'd be eligible for an extension in 2016 and 2017, when Griffin is still under his extension.
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