With the October 16 deadline for rookie scale extensions just three days away, it appears unlikely that Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, Magic forward Aaron Gordon, or Magic guard Elfrid Payton will agree to new deals with their respective clubs.
Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link) has the latest on Nurkic, reporting that the fourth-year center is preparing to reach restricted free agency in 2018. The Trail Blazers have yet to make an extension offer to Nurkic, according to Charania, so it would take a major last-minute push from both sides to get something done.
As for the Magic duo, Gordon’s agent tells Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel that he doesn’t anticipate his client reaching an extension agreement. Payton’s rep doesn’t weigh in with his thoughts, but Robbins is bearish on the point guard’s chances of securing a long-term deal within the next few days.
In the Blazers’ case, it makes some sense that the team would be willing to wait to finalize a new deal for Nurkic. Although the former Nugget looked great in 20 games for Portland last season, he has battled multiple injuries this year, including a broken leg, and the team likely wants to take a longer look at him before making a major long-term commitment. The Blazers’ cap situation also complicates matters, since the club may need to dump another contract if Nurkic signs an extension.
The Magic, meanwhile, have had years to evaluate Gordon and Payton, but the current management group wasn’t around for the duo’s first few seasons. As Robbins notes, new president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond have said they want to use the 2017/18 season to get more familiar with the franchise’s players, so they may be reluctant to invest major money in either Gordon or Payton quite yet.
Assuming Nurkic, Gordon, and Payton don’t negotiate a last-minute extension by Monday’s deadline, they’ll all be eligible for restricted free agency next July.