April is a time when most teams have set their rosters and are either making a playoff push or evaluating the assets they have going into the offseason. That doesn't mean front offices are ghost towns this time of year, and last couple of April have featured some notable contract extensions. No such deals are on the horizon this year, but let's take a look back and see how these late-season decisions have panned out for teams and players:
- On April 2, 2010, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers agreed to a three-year, $83.5MM extension that kicked in this season. It's certainly paying dividends for L.A. so far, as Bryant is leading the league with 28.1 PPG and averaging 38.4 MPG, almost five more minutes a game more than last season despite the condensed schedule. Though he's missed the last few games with an injury to his shin, Bryant, 33, has looked as spry and healthy as ever after receiving experimental treatment on his knees in the offseason. The team expects Bryant to continue playing after the extension is up, and seems committed to making him a Laker for life. We'll see come 2014, but for now, it seems Bryant is content and will continue to produce for L.A. as one of the NBA's highest paid players.
- Manu Ginobili and the Spurs agreed to a three-year, $38.9MM extension April 8, 2010. The deal makes him the highest paid player on the Spurs aside from Tim Duncan, giving him more per year than Tony Parker. It took effect last season, when Ginobili became more of a focal point of the offense, taking the second greatest number of shots per game in his career (5.5) and delivering his second highest scoring average (17.4). He also tied a career high with 4.9 APG. A full-time starter last season, he's most appeared off the bench this year, and his numbers have tailed off, in part due to a broken left hand and a strained left oblique that caused him to miss significant time. Still, Ginobili is making a career-best 51.3% of his shots from the floor, and the Spurs continue to win, so the deal continues to look smart for both sides.
- Marcus Camby signed an incentive-laden two-year extension with the Blazers on April 20, 2010. The base pay is $17.7MM, and there was $7.8MM available to Camby if he reached certain benchmarks, though at least $1.49MM of that won't be claimed. The Blazers sent Camby to the Rockets in March, the same month the veteran big man turned 38. He's seen fewer minutes the past two seasons, but will go into free agency this summer having proven he's still one of the league's most effective rebounders. In fact, he's averaged more than 14 rebounds per 36 minutes during the extension, a number he had never before reached. He led the NBA in blocks per game four times, and has averaged 1.8 blocks a night with Houston. His board work and basket protection were certainly assets that helped the Blazers claim a playoff spot last year, and it appears the same will be true for the Rockets this season. Still, his likely incentives push his cap hold to more than $11.2MM this season, and it's probably a stretch to say someone who plays only about half the game and is not much of an offensive factor is worth that amount of money.
- One year to the day after the Blazers extended Camby, Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies agreed to a four-year, $66MM extension that begins this season. The final year is a player option, and the $66MM figure doesn't include $1.25MM per year in unlikely incentives. It represented quite a comeback for Randolph, whom the Clippers saw as expendable before trading him straight up for Quentin Richardson in the summer of 2009. With the ink barely dry on the extension, Randolph powered Memphis to an unlikely playoff run last year, averaging 22.2 PPG and 10.8 RPG in 13 postseason games. A knee injury caused Randolph to miss most of the deal's first year, however, and he's putting up his lowest scoring and rebounding numbers in nine years as coach Lionel Hollins works him back in a bench role. I doubt that, with the money he's making, Randolph will be out of the starting lineup for too long. Injuries happen, but it's disconcerting to see Randolph go down in just the first year of his deal. Even at 30 years old, he carries 253 pounds on his 6'9" frame, and it makes you wonder what condition his knees will be in come 2015.