Extension Candidate: Eric Maynor

With all of the hoopla surrounding the recently-inked contract extension for Serge Ibaka and the concern over whether the Thunder will have enough left over to retain James Harden, there hasn't been much talk about a new deal for point guard Eric Maynor.  The former VCU star saw his season end just nine games into the season on January 7th when he tore his ACL on a drive to the basket, so he won't be dealing from a position of strength.  He also doesn't have the kind of stats that scream for a sizable multi-year deal with career averages of 4.5 PPG and 3.1 APG in just over 15 minutes per contest. 

However, as John Rodhe of The Oklahoman rightfully points out, the one-guard's numbers don't tell the entire story.  The 25-year-old carries himself with the maturity of a much older player and plays a decidedly conservative game, especially when juxtaposed with starter Russell Westbrook.  Maynor's career assist-to-turnover ratio is 3.04-to-1, a number that Rodhe notes would have ranked seventh in the league last season. 

So, how much is a young point guard with a skyhigh basketball IQ but a less-than-skyhigh stat sheet worth?  That's a tricky question to answer, especially when considering the financial quandry facing the Thunder.  Of course, their top priority will be to keep the 2012 Sixth Man of the Year in place for the foreseeable future.  Journalists and rival executives are already wondering if Sam Presti & Co. will be able to find space for Harden as they'll be pressed up against the luxury tax threshold.  Maynor obviously won't command as much as the club's big four, but a multi-year commitment for a few million per season could be an indulgence that is simply to rich for their blood.

Maynor's agent Andrew Vye is keeping mum on how talks are progressing between him and the Thunder, but we can safely assume that the club won't come to the table with a solid offer until they know what the future holds for Harden.  Maynor will earn just over $2.3MM this season and Rodhe suggests that locking him up could require anywhere between $14MM and $18MM over four years.  With all due respect for Maynor's skillset, it's hard to imagine a club pressing the high end of that range for a backup point guard.  The Thunder can probably get a deal done with an average annual value around $3.5MM – the question is, will they instead look to save some scratch and look to build a cheaper bench for the next few seasons.

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