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Early Look At The Rookie Scale Extension Market

Last year’s rookie scale extension market yielded some $450MM in deals, but with the salary cap set to zoom for 2016/17, when this year’s rookie scale extensions would kick in, uncertainty clouds the market. The deadline for these extensions isn’t until October 31st, but negotiations can start on July 1st, just as free agency opens. Here are the extension-eligible players split into three tiers, with players likely to make the max at the top, those unlikely to receive extensions at the bottom, and the most interesting cases in between.



  • Harrison Barnes, Warriors — David Lee‘s contract will be up just as an extension for Barnes would kick in for 2016/17, but the Warriors already have about $54MM on the books for that season, not counting any new deal they give Draymond Green this summer. There’s a strong chance an extension for Barnes would bring the Warriors right up to the cap for that season, making them one of the few teams without flexibility. Prediction: No extension
  • Bradley Beal, Wizards — Washington has reportedly been planning an extension for Beal since before the season, when league executives were apparently confident that he could command the max. Injuries and stalled development have thrown that into question, but a four-year deal with terms similar to John Wall‘s would make sense. Prediction: Four years, $65MM.
  • Evan Fournier, Magic — He missed the second half of the season with injury and cooled after a hot start, but he showed promise in the early part of the season that he never did with Denver. A smaller extension in the range of the four years and $41MM Alec Burks received from the Jazz would probably be the model here, but there’s still only a small sample size to go off of. Prediction: No extension.
  • John Henson, Bucks — Henson has been in and out of the lineup for Milwaukee, though at 6’11”, he carries some intrigue. Still, if the Bucks didn’t extend Brandon Knight last year, it’d be tough to see them doing so with Henson. Prediction: No extension
  • Terrence Jones, Rockets — Houston has Jones, Donatas Motiejunas and soon-to-be free agent Josh Smith all occupying the power forward spot. Motiejunas is up for a rookie scale extension, too, but with the team’s desire to remain a player in the free agent market, it’s tough to see the Rockets making a commitment to either extension-eligible four man, particularly if they re-sign Smith. Prediction: No extension
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Hornets — Kidd-Gilchrist’s is one of the most intriguing cases, especially considering he was a No. 2 overall pick. He improved this year, but he doesn’t appear capable of becoming a threat from deep anytime soon, and that’s a problem at small forward. Still, his defense helps anchor the Hornets, and he’s a strong rebounder for his position, too. Prediction: Four years, $52MM 
  • Meyers Leonard, Trail Blazers — Leonard broke out to a degree in the playoffs, finally delivering on some of the promise that made him a lottery pick. Still, there’s so much uncertainty in Portland this summer, so it’s tough to see the team making a long-term commitment to Leonard just yet. Prediction: No extension
  • Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets — He’s largely in the same spot as Terrence Jones, with a logjam at his position. Prediction: No extension
  • Miles Plumlee, Bucks — He was a starter for the 2013/14 Suns, who came agonizingly close to a playoff berth, but he wasn’t a factor for the Bucks after the deadline trade that brought him to Milwaukee. Prediction: No extension
  • Terrence Ross, Raptors — The former eighth overall pick has talent, but he plateaued this year, which seemed to contribute to the stall in Toronto’s climb up the Eastern Conference. Prediction: No extension
  • Jared Sullinger, Celtics — Sullinger has said he’s willing to consent to the weight clause that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge wants, but what Ainge wants even more is a star. It’ll be tough for the C’s to commit long-term to anyone until they know what their team will look like in the long run. Prediction: No extension
  • Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors — GM Masai Ujiri made it clear he believes in the big man, and though he hasn’t quite lived up to having been a No. 5 pick and often didn’t finish games this season, the potential is still there. Prediction: Four years, $48MM
  • Dion Waiters, Thunder — Waiters struggled with his outside shot and wasn’t the difference-maker the Thunder hoped when they traded for him in January. No one knows what Oklahoma City will look like in a year when an extension for Waiters would kick in as Kevin Durant‘s future looms over the franchise. Prediction: No extension
  • Tony Wroten, Sixers — Philadelphia has shown a reluctance to commit money to free agents, so it would seem somewhat antithetical for the team to do so at this point to anyone else, particularly a player who might not be a starter in the long run. Prediction: No extension
  • Tyler Zeller, Celtics — The former Cavalier started much of the season, but as with Sullinger, uncertainty about Boston’s future makes it risky for the Celtics to tie up money in anyone who doesn’t project to become a star. Prediction: No extension

Extension longshots

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