Within his latest piece for ESPN.com, NBA insider Marc Stein takes a look around the league to attempt to determine which players entering the final year of their rookie scale contracts are most likely to sign extensions before the October 31 deadline. As Stein points out, the uncertainty surrounding the CBA may make some players or teams reluctant to finalize a new deal that won’t go into effect until next summer, but there are still a few extension candidates worth monitoring.
According to Stein, Jazz center Rudy Gobert is viewed as the most likely candidate to be extended this month — Utah wants to lock up both Gobert and Derrick Favors to long-term deals, recognizing that securing those players could help convince Gordon Hayward to re-sign next summer. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Pistons), Gorgui Dieng (Timberwolves), and Shabazz Muhammad (Timberwolves) are also in play for potential extensions, says Stein.
Here’s more from the ESPN scribe:
- It’s not clear how eager the Thunder will be to get something done with Steven Adams and/or Victor Oladipo before October 31, since the team may be enticed by the possibility of maintaining 2017 cap room, Stein notes. Oklahoma City could take the same approach the Wizards and Pistons did with Bradley Beal and Andre Drummond, respectively, waiting to extend them in order to maximize cap room. Of course, waiting until 2017 would almost certainly mean doing max deals for Adams and/or Oladipo.
- As high as they are on Dennis Schroder‘s potential, the Hawks may want to see how he handles the starting point guard job in Jeff Teague‘s absence before committing to a long-term deal, Stein writes. In that case, an extension this month seems unlikely.
- The Cavaliers had been offering a $10-11MM annual salary to J.R. Smith, and while it’s possible they’ve increased their offer, it hasn’t been enough to entice Smith to sign. Sources tell Stein “it’s only a matter of time” before the free agent guard starts to engage more seriously with other teams.
- While they don’t have the cap room for him at this point, the Celtics‘ reported interest in Smith is genuine, according to Stein, who suggests Boston could explore moving some salary to another team in order to create space for Smith.
- There are whispers that the Cavaliers have “strong interest” in bringing Mario Chalmers aboard when he’s healthy enough to play, per Stein. Chalmers, who remains on the free agent market, continues to recover from Achilles surgery.
- The Jazz don’t appear inclined to add anyone to their roster as a temporary fill-in while Gordon Hayward’s broken finger heals, Stein writes.