Posted on: April 14, 2011 4:04 pm

Grizzlies close to deal with Randolph?

Grizzlies talking to Zach Randolph's representatives to finish extension before playoffs begin. 
Posted by Matt Moore

The Memphis Grizzlies return to the playoffs this weekend for the first time since 2006.  It's the first moment of genuine excitement for the team and city since the rebuilding process began after the trade of Pau Gasol. But something does come after the playoffs and the Grizzlies have a great number of things to work out with regards to their future roster. Chief among those concerns is Zach Randolph who needs a new contract. But it would appear the Grizzlies are trying to settle that concern before the playoffs even begin. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reports today that Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley strolled on into FedEx Forum with Randolph as Randolph's representatives worked out an extension with management. 
When asked if that was a sure sign that his contract extension was all but a done deal, Randolph smiled and said: "They're saying its close."

Raymond Brothers is Randolph's agent and he's been locked in nonstop negotiations with Griz general manager Chris Wallace for the past week. After poking around a little bit today, I'm told that the issues left on the table are so minor that a deal could be finalized and announced as soon as today.
via Griz deal with Z-Bo could be done today - The Memphis Edge.

The key will be not just how much they give Randolph, but how many years. Randolph turns 30 this summer and while his game doesn't rely on athleticism so it's likely he may sustain production longer than a leaper, there's still going to be a dip. The team needs to structure a contract that rewards the work Randolph has put in both on and off the floor for Memphis, but also allows for their future growth. Too strong of an offer and they'll limit themselves. But apparently they have a set already agreed to. Getting it done before the playoffs is either a brilliant tactical move and good karma, or counting chickens before they hatch. 

Posted on: October 18, 2010 5:06 pm

The 2007 class, the new CBA and extensions

Posted by Royce Young

There are two weeks until Nov. 1. That day doesn't mean much to most, unless it's your birthday or your anniversary (you're welcome for the reminder). But for the draft class of 2007, it's an important day. A very important day. And one that looks like it will come and go without much fanfare.

As of today, Oct. 18, only two players from the class of 2007 have received a contract extension. Kevin Durant who was given a max deal over the summer and Joakim Noah who Chicago inked to a pretty hefty contract. Other than that, no one else. The No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden? Doesn't look like he's getting paid. Other top 10 picks like Mike Conley, Jeff Green, Yi Jianlian, Brandan Wright and Corey Brewer? They probably aren't going to have anything done. Only Al Horford, who is likely to get extended by Atlanta, has a shot of doing something before Nov. 1, though David Aldridge of NBA.com says it's "50-50" at this point.

(If nothing is done by Nov. 1, then the remaining un-extended players become restricted free agents for next summer. Just in case that wasn't clear up front.)

Other than Oden who the Blazers aren't extending for obvious reasons, probably the two most interesting cases are Jeff Green of the Thunder and Aaron Brooks of the Rockets.

As for Green, Aldridge thinks that the book might not be closed on an extension for the player Thunder fans call "Uncle Jeff". In his Morning Tip column, Aldridge says, "Green could certainly argue he deserves a new deal after averaging 15.1 points and six rebounds a game last season for the emerging Thunder. And Green's agent, David Falk, has a way of persuading teams to see things his client's way, so Green's status may change by the deadline. Oklahoma City's plan has been to keep its powder dry until its young core group came on line for new deals."

The problem for Green though is his teammate. No not, that Kevin Durant guy. It's his other soon-to-be-a-star teammate, Russell Westbrook. Next summer, Westbrook is eligible for his contract extension. And much like the way the Thunder treated Durant by showing up at his door at midnight, Westbrook will likely be inked on the spot. That complicates things for Green.

Nobody really knows his true market value quite yet, just like nobody really knows exactly where he should be playing. Is he a $10 million per year player? More? Less? It's hard to say at this point. And that might be why the Thunder's likely willing to let him walk into restricted free agency. This season is big in determining that value. It's a risk for the Thunder though. There are a lot of dumb general managers out there and one is likely willing to overpay Green because he's a pretty good player playing third or maybe even fourth fiddle on a good team. Someone could very easily put $11 or $12 million a year under Green's nose.

If Green wants a lot of money, then Oklahoma City might not be able to pay him. As of now, both GM Sam Presti and Green are saying the right things. Green says he's not worried about it and that's why he has representation. He said at media day that he'll let it happen when it does. And Presti said he's had "positive discussions" with Green, but won't say anything other than that.

As for Brooks, it's already been made clear he's not likely getting extended. As the reigning Most Improved Player and a guy that's potentially a star caliber talent, he's a little miffed over it. But GM Daryl Morey doesn't want to extend Brooks for a lot of the same reasons Presti doesn't want to lock in Green. It's not to say either GM doesn't want to keep their guys, it's just that they don't want to overpay without knowing completely what they have. Plus, the looming CBA negotiations are hanging overhead and it makes it tough to just hang a big multi-year extension in front of anyone and everyone. It's fiscal responsibility, but at the same time, risky behavior because you may have to pay more to keep your man next summer. Interesting dynamic there.

With this class looking at two and probably three extensions, a small trend is developing. The 2006 class had six extensions (Andrea Bargnani, Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Thabo Sefolosha, Renaldo Balkman, Rajon Rondo). The 2005 group had eight (Andrew Bogut, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, Jason Maxiell, Francisco Garcia and Martell Webster). 2004 had six (Dwight Howard, Devin Harris, Al Jefferson, Kris Humphries, Jameer Nelson and Kevin Martin, but the all-time great class of 2003 had 15 (LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, etc.). Either the talent has dropped a bit or GMs are just a little tighter with those extensions. It's probably a combination of both. And of course, that darn CBA.

(As an example though, out of that 2006 class, some players that got restricted free agent contracts but not extensions: Rudy Gay, Luis Scola, Ronnie Brewer and Tyrus Thomas. So just because someone isn't extended that doesn't mean they won't get paid big and/or stay with their current club.)

But then again, would you extend Thaddeus Young, Yi, Rodney Stuckey, Jared Dudley, Spencer Hawes, Rudy Fernandez, Al Thornton or Nick Young? (Interestingly, Ernie Grunfeld has the opportunity to do so on like half the 2007 class.) It's not exactly a group that screams multi-year, multi-million dollar contract.

Though it appears we may be in a new climate for contract extensions and it's something the 2008 class (Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, Westbrook, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, etc.) will likely have an eye on. The new CBA will determine a lot of these players' future. So Nov. 1 will probably just have to come and go while they wait to see what happens next summer.
Posted on: October 4, 2010 11:44 am
Edited on: October 4, 2010 11:45 am

Hawks are hammering out Al Horford's extension

Posted by Royce Young

Nobody tell Jamal Crawford, but the Hawks are actively working on an extension for Al Horford reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Joakim Noah reportedly got about $60 million over five years over the weekend and as I mentioned in that post, Noah's contract will probably be used as a measuring stick for Horford's extension. Both are center/power forward hybrids, both are young, both came into the league in the same draft class and hey, both played at Florida. (Not that that matters really though.)

Horford is looking to get paid and as he told the paper, he wants to stay in Atlanta.

“How do you see yourself with the team?” Horford told the AJC. “Do you think the team is going the right way? Obviously, you have to factor in do you like the city you are i? ... All those things favor me because I feel like we are in a good position. We’ve been playing together. This is my fourth year with the team, and I love the city of Atlanta."

Just like Noah, Atlanta has until Nov. 1 to make a deal with Horford on an extension, otherwise Horford becomes a restricted free agent next season. And you know the Hawks don't want that. The Hawks can offer an extension of up to five years and $82 million, but it's unlikely they'll max out on Horford. But then again, we all saw what they did with Joe Johnson over the summer. Right now, Horford is set to make $5.4 million in 2010-11, the final year of his rookie-scale contract.

Horford, 24, was taken with the third overall pick in the 2007 draft after he helped lead Florida to two NCAA championships. Eastern Conference coaches voted Horford to his first All-Star team last season, plus new Hawks coach Larry Drew recently named Horford as a captain with Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

Again, this is the major hangup in Crawford getting the extension he so badly wants. The Hawks shelled out $120 million to Joe Johnson and are probably looking at tossing $60-70 on Horford. Paying Crawford is just a tough, tough thing right now for the Hawks.
Posted on: October 3, 2010 11:43 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2010 11:50 pm

Report: Bulls and Noah agree to extension

Posted by Royce Young

Well, it doesn't look like Joakim Noah is getting traded for Carmelo Anthony.

According to multiple outlets, Noah has agreed to a contract extension worth somewhere in the $60 million range over five years. The extension makes Noah only the second player in the class of 2007 to sign an extended deal, Kevin Durant being the other player.

Noa probably earned the big payday last season as he averaged 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game in his thirs season. He became known as one of the East's best intertior defenders and his energy and effort is something that's become a calling-card for Noah. And evidently he is something valuable enough that the Bulls said no to trading him for Carmelo and also paid him $12 million a year.

The Bulls were on the clock too. If the two sides could not come to an agreement by Nov. 1, Noah could be a restricted free agent after next season and then an unrestricted free agent. And according to Smith, the two sides were stalled in the recent weeks with the Bulls offering $55-57 million over five years while Noah wanted somewhere in the $65 million range. So it looks like there was a nice compromise.

But what does it mean for Chicago? The Bulls made big news this offseason giving huge money to Carlos Boozer, plus Derrick Rose is only a few seasons away from an extension from Chicago. With $12 million a year locked up in Noah, plus the big money owed to Luol Deng, the Bulls will have over half their total salary wrapped up in four players.

And also think about Ken Berger's recent report about the potential for a new hard cap. Noah's salary could hog as much as a quarter of the Bulls' total payroll and with all the salary and CBA stuff up in the air, maybe it made sense for Chicago to let Noah test the restricted free agent market. But then again, Noah was important enough to them to turn down Anthony, so obviously they weren't willing to risk him next summer.

What's also interesting about Noah's extension is that it probably gives some sort of measuring bar for the Hawks to go off of for Al Horford's looming extension. Horford has been working actively with the Hawks to get something done and now there's a five-year $60 million deal to base things off of from another center from his same draft class that he competes against.

Is Noah worth $60 million? A few other big men making around $12 million a year are Antwan Jamison, Andrew Bogut, Josh Smith, LaMarcus Aldridge, Nene, Al Jefferson and Chris Kaman. Is Noah in that category? Not necessarily statistically, but in terms of importance to his team, you could probably say so.
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