Ben McLemore is eligible to sign a rookie-scale extension until October 31, but the Kings are unlikely to reach a new deal with the fourth-year guard by that deadline, league sources tell Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Assuming the two sides don’t come to an agreement, McLemore would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2017.
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The seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft, McLemore has yet to live up to his draft position as an NBA player. The 23-year-old played a career-low 21.2 minutes per game in 68 contests for Sacramento last season, averaging 7.8 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and 1.2 APG in those games, though he did average a career-best 36.2% on three-point attempts.
Given McLemore’s underwhelming NBA production to date, and the fact that he was made available in trade talks for most of the 2016 offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if the Kings opt not to extend him at this point.
Still, recent reports have suggested that the team’s new coaches have liked what they’ve seen from McLemore so far, and are excited to see how he performs this season. Despite the question marks Sacramento has at point guard, the club reportedly turned down a recent trade offer from the Bucks that would have sent Michael Carter-Williams to the Kings in exchange for McLemore. So a strong season from the Kansas product could potentially lead to a new deal with the team next summer if he doesn’t get one this month.
McLemore will earn a salary just north of $4MM this season, and if the Kings want to make him a restricted free agent next July, it would require a qualifying offer worth about $5.38MM.