MONDAY, 5:06pm: Vucevic and Harris today expressed their desire to strike deals on extensions, too, as Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes.
“Obviously, I want to be here,” Harris said. “But I think I’ll just go out there and play basketball. I’ll let my agent handle all that. I know they’ve been having some talks, but I don’t really get too involved in it. I don’t want to use that as something to lose my focus. I’m about my team and about winning games this year and helping my team win games.”
FRIDAY, 12:45pm: The Magic have until October 31st to sign Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris to extensions that would keep them out of restricted free agency next summer, and Magic GM Rob Hennigan said the team wants to do so with both of them, as he told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Each are entering the final season of their respective rookie scale contracts.
“We’ve been in discussions with both Tobias’ and Nik’s representatives,” Hennigan said. “We’ll continue to be in discussions with them. We’re motivated to try to get something done if it makes sense for everybody, and our hope and intention is to do so.”
Hennigan and Vucevic last season expressed mutual interest in a long-term future together, but this is the strongest indication to date that the Magic envision the same commitment with Harris. Orlando acquired both via trade, obtaining Vucevic in the Dwight Howard blockbuster before the 2012/13 season and coming away with Harris in the J.J. Redick swap at the 2013 trade deadline, and both have thrived with increased playing time since joining the Magic. Still, the development of both appeared to plateau last season, as the Magic once more finished near the bottom of the standings, and Hennigan made it clear to Robbins that he believes it important that the team’s rebuilding effort start showing more progress this season.
Still, the Magic don’t have the benefit of seeing how Vucevic and Harris play in the regular season if they want to sign them to extensions, given next month’s deadline. When I profiled Vucevic as an extension candidate, I surmised that the BDA Sports Management client would come away with a four-year, $48MM extension similar to the one the Jazz gave fellow big man Derrick Favors last year. I didn’t think the team would be as enthusiastic about Harris when I examined his case, predicting that the Magic and the Henry Thomas client would pass on an extension for the combo forward, in part because of the other options the team has at the positions he plays.
Still, that’s just my speculation, and it’s unclear just what sort of money the team and the players have in mind. The Magic have only about $15MM in commitments for next season, not counting about $13MM in rookie scale team options for other players, so they have plenty of flexibility to accommodate deals for both, particularly with the salary cap projected to rise sharply in the coming years.