Contract, Roster Deadlines Loom For NBA Teams

We’re one day away from the start of the NBA’s 2021/22 regular season, making Monday the last day of the 2021 offseason. Today serves as the deadline for a number of contract- and roster-related decisions around the league. Here are the most important ones:

Rookie Scale Extensions

A total of 24 players entered the offseason eligible for rookie scale extensions. Seven of those players (Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, Robert Williams, and Wendell Carter Jr.) have already signed or agreed to new deals, while one (Chandler Hutchison) was waived. That leaves the following 16 players eligible to sign rookie scale extensions on Monday:

The majority of these guys won’t sign new deals until the 2022 offseason, when they’re eligible for restricted free agency. But it would be a surprise if at least a couple more players from this list don’t finalize rookie scale extensions today. Ayton, Bridges, Huerter, Jackson, and Sexton are some of the best candidates.

The deadline for rookie scale extensions is at 5:00pm central time.

Certain Veteran Contract Extensions

A veteran player who signed his current contract at least two years ago (or three years ago if it was a five-year deal) is eligible to sign an extension. That means many veterans around the NBA are eligible to sign contract extensions today, but that number will significantly drop as of tomorrow.

Once the regular season begins, only veterans in the final year of their contracts can sign extensions — a player that has multiple years remaining is no longer extension-eligible until the following offseason.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Veteran Contract Extension]

Let’s use the Pacers as an example. Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, T.J. Warren, and Jeremy Lamb are all eligible for extensions, but of those five players, only Warren and Lamb are on expiring deals. Brogdon, Turner, and LeVert are under contract through 2022/23, so each of them could sign an extension today that covers up to three additional seasons. However, starting on Tuesday, all three will be ineligible to sign an extension until the 2022 offseason.

Someone who has a player option for 2022/23, like Wizards star Bradley Beal, could still sign a new deal during the season, but he’d have to eliminate that option to do so. Picking it up would make him ineligible to complete an extension until the 2022 offseason after today, since it would turn his contract into a multiyear deal, not an expiring one.

A small number of veterans who have 2022/23 player options won’t be able to decline them in order to sign an extension. Nets star James Harden, for instance, couldn’t replace his $47.37MM option for ’22/23 with the first year of a new extension, since he’s already earning more than the maximum, making him eligible for only a 5% raise on his current salary in an extension. That would result in a ’22/23 salary of $46.53MM, but the first-year salary in an extension can’t be lower than the player option it would replace.

That means if Harden wants to sign an extension, he’d have to pick up his player option so that his extension could begin in 2023/24. Since that would make his current contract a multiyear deal, he won’t be eligible for an extension during the season if he doesn’t finalize one today.

The deadline for veteran extensions for players on non-expiring contracts is at 10:59pm CT tonight.

Regular Season Rosters

Most teams around the NBA finalized their roster cuts on Saturday for financial reasons, as we explained over the weekend. However, today is the offiical deadline to reduce offseason rosters to the regular season limit of 15 players on standard contracts (plus two on two-way contracts).

While it’s certainly possible there will be some additional roster shuffling today as teams tweak their back-end roster spots or fill two-way openings, only two teams – the Hornets and Spurs – absolutely have to make cuts, as we detailed on Sunday.

The final day of the offseason is also the last day for teams to convert Exhibit 10 contracts into two-way deals. However, after David Duke, Malik Fitts, Tyler Cook, RJ Nembhard, Tacko Fall, and Daishen Nix had their Exhibit 10 deals converted into two-ways within the last week, there are no candidates left for this maneuver.

Finally, Monday is the last day for a free agent to be signed-and-traded. There’s no indication that any sign-and-trades are in the works.

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