Of all the players eligible for a rookie-scale extension this year, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the nearest to a lock for a maximum-salary deal. However, rather than playing hardball with the Bucks or potentially risking changes to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement by the time he signed his new contract, Antetokounmpo agreed to an extension this week that will pay him less than the maximum. One report indicated that The Greek Freak wanted to help Milwaukee retain talent going forward.
With Antetokounmpo having settled for less than the max, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman wonders if two Thunder extension candidates – Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo – could be persuaded to do the same. While neither player is a bona-fide NBA star, the league’s rising salary cap and relative dearth of young, top-tier free agents means that both players are good bets to get a max offer if they reach restricted free agency in 2017. Whether or not either of them will receive an offer like that from the Thunder by this year’s October 31 extension deadline remains to be seen.
As Horne notes, Oladipo is reportedly seeking a max deal, while Adams has off-handedly stated that he’ll play negotiations “by ear.” We’ve examined the extension candidacy of both Oladipo and Adams, pointing out that if the Thunder want to be players in free agency in 2017, it might make sense to hold off on extensions for the duo. However, in that scenario, Oklahoma City would be more likely to have to pay the max to keep one or both players.
It also remains to be seen which player will be valued more highly by the Thunder. Adams has become a cornerstone frontcourt player for the franchise, particularly after the trade of Serge Ibaka, and his toughness and rim-protecting ability would be hard to replace. Oladipo, on the other hand, was the key piece of that Ibaka trade, and could be the backcourt partner for Russell Westbrook that OKC has long been seeking.
What do you think? Will either Adams or Oladipo be extended within the next few weeks, or will they head to restricted free agency next summer? If one or both of them signs an extension, will the Thunder be able to lock them up at a reasonable price, avoiding the max?
Take to the comments section below to share your opinions on the Thunder’s pair of of extension candidates. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.