Poll: Best Value Among Non-Max Rookie Scale Extensions

After four players signed maximum-salary rookie scale extensions relatively early in the NBA’s condensed offseason, six more players eligible for rookie extensions completed deals in the final 24 hours or so before Monday’s deadline.

[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Contract Extension Tracker]

All six of those 11th-hour deals were worth well below the max, ranging from $40MM to as much as $80MM. Contracts in that range are generally trickier to negotiate than maximum-salary extensions — it’s fair to assume the Magic spent more time weighing how much to offer Jonathan Isaac, who is out for the season with a torn ACL, than the Celtics did thinking about what to offer Jayson Tatum.

With that in mind, we want to get your thoughts on the six non-max rookie scale extensions signed in 2020, all of which will take effect in 2021/22. They are as follows:

  • OG Anunoby (Raptors): Four years, $72MM. Includes fourth-year player option.
  • Derrick White (Spurs): Four years, $70MM. Includes $5MM in incentives.
  • Jonathan Isaac (Magic): Four years, $69.6MM. Includes $10.4MM in incentives and Exhibit 3 injury protection.
  • Luke Kennard (Clippers): Four years, $56MM. Includes $8MM in incentives and a fourth-year team option.
  • Markelle Fultz (Magic): Three years, $50MM. Includes $3MM in incentives and partial guarantee in third year.
  • Kyle Kuzma (Lakers): Three years, $40MM. Includes third-year player option.

While White’s and Isaac’s contracts were initially reported as being worth $75MM and $80MM, respectively, it’s actually Anunoby who received the highest overall guarantee. His fourth-year player option also probably makes his contract the most player-friendly overall, though you could make the case that he deserves it — unlike a number of other players on this list, he hasn’t dealt with ongoing injury issues since entering the NBA, and has a clear-cut role as a three-and-D weapon who still has room for improvement.

White will be able to match Anunoby’s $72MM total across four seasons if he’s able to play at least 70 games in each year of his deal. His other incentives will be harder to reach, but $18MM per year is still a a strong investment in a player who came off the bench for much of the 2019/20 campaign.

Isaac and Fultz both have injury histories, but the Magic protected themselves in each case. They included games-played incentives and injury language related to Isaac’s knee in the forward’s contract, and are only on the hook for a small partial guarantee ($2MM) in the third year of Fultz’s deal.

The Clippers took a similar approach with Kennard, who missed much of the 2019/20 season with knee issues — in addition to having to earn a series of annual incentives, he only has three guaranteed years on his extension, which features a fourth-year team option.

As for Kuzma, he joined Anunoby as the only other player in this group to get a player option on the final year of his extension, which works in his favor — he’ll be able to hit the open market in advance of his age-28 season if he outplays this contract. Of course, he also got the lowest per-year commitment of any of these six players, so even if he doesn’t live up to the deal, it shouldn’t be a major albatross.

What do you think? Which of these contract extensions do you think represents the best value from a team perspective?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to weigh in!

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