Most NBA teams don’t even have one viable candidate for an in-season veteran extension on their rosters, but the Jazz, armed with the cap space necessary to renegotiate a deal and provide an immediate raise, have two realistic candidates for a new deal. George Hill and Derrick Favors were two of the five players we identified last month when we listed some veteran extension candidates worth watching.
The Jazz have until the end of February to work out an extension with Hill or Favors that gives them a raise for the 2016/17 season, and a few months later, the team’s extension window for two more key players will open. Starting on July 1, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum will be able to negotiate new contracts with the Jazz, as they enter the final year of their respective rookie deals.
The Jazz are currently sitting below the salary floor for 2016/17 and have more than $13MM in cap room at their disposal, but their favorable cap situation won’t last forever. Rudy Gobert‘s lucrative new extension takes effect in 2017/18, as his salary will jump by more than $19MM. Gordon Hayward is also on track to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and if Utah hopes to re-sign him, it will likely take a max deal, or something close to it.
With the salary cap projected to easily exceed $100MM for the first time in 2017/18, the Jazz will still have some flexibility to accommodate a couple more big-money deals, but the team may have to be selective about which of its extension candidates it locks up. Kincade Upstill of The Deseret News explored this subject earlier in the week, suggesting that an extension next year for Hood should be a “no-brainer.”
Upstill also likes the idea of keeping Hill in the fold, but writes that patience may be required for Favors and Exum. Both players are under contract through 2018, so it may make sense for the Jazz to wait for Favors and Exum to reach free agency rather than trying to extend them early. That’s especially true for Exum, who was selected fifth overall in 2014, but missed all of last season with an ACL injury and has yet to take a major step forward in his development.
What do you think? Which of Utah’s extension candidates should the team prioritize? Does it make sense to extend Hill or Favors during the 2016/17 season? Should Hood or Exum be locked up next offseason? Should the Jazz be willing to let some of those players walk? Jump into the comments section below to weigh in with your thoughts!