Of the players eligible for rookie scale extensions this offseason, Spurs forward Keldon Johnson became the first to sign a new deal worth less than the maximum. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), Johnson’s new four-year contract will have a base value of $74MM, with $1.5MM in annual unlikely incentives that could push the total value of the deal to $80MM.
Johnson’s contract will serve as a point of comparison for many of the other extension-eligible players who will be negotiating with their respective teams this summer and fall, Fischer writes in a full story for Bleacher Report.
For instance, representatives for De’Andre Hunter figure to seek a similar deal for their client, though the Hawks may be reluctant to invest heavily in a player who has appeared in just 76 games in the last two seasons due to injuries. One cap strategist who spoke to Bleacher Report said Hunter’s injury concerns “are very real,” and sources tell Fischer that the 24-year-old and Atlanta are approximately $20MM apart in their discussions about a four-year extension.
Johnson’s extension with San Antonio is worth roughly the same amount annually as deals signed by sharpshooters like Davis Bertans, Duncan Robinson, and Joe Harris, and all four of those deals will be reference points when Cameron Johnson and the Suns discuss a new deal, according to Fischer, who suggests an extension for Johnson could easily surpass $15MM per year.
Here are a few more notes from Fischer on rookie scale extension candidates from around the NBA:
- There’s a sense that the Warriors may be best off waiting on an extension for Jordan Poole unless they can get a team-friendly rate this offseason, Fischer writes. “What’s the upside in locking him in now?” the team cap strategist said. “He’s not Luka Doncic or Donovan Mitchell, who’ve proven they can carry a team. He’s close. If he does it again, you pay him. But prior to this year he was a borderline rotation player.”
- Cap experts who spoke to Fischer believes that the Celtics‘ four-year extension for Robert Williams (worth $48MM, plus $6MM in incentives) will be a benchmark for their extension talks with Grant Williams. However, rival executives don’t think the C’s will want to spend much more on Grant than they did on Robert.
- The Trail Blazers and Nassir Little may both be motivated to work out a new deal this summer. As Fischer explains, Little could increase his value (and his price tag) in 2022/23 if he’s part of Portland’s new-look starting lineup, but his injury history might make him inclined to take a guaranteed payday sooner rather than later.
- There has been no traction on extension talks between the Sixers and Matisse Thybulle, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer also classifies Bulls guard Coby White as a player who is unlikely to sign an extension before the season.