|Jrue Holiday would like a max contract extension if you don't mind. (Getty Images)|
'Tis the season for contract negotiations for the 2009 draft class.
As members of that rookie class prepare for their fourth NBA season (well, those who started their careers right away), their agents are attempting to negotiate contract extensions to secure their financial futures and avoid restricted free agency in 2013.
Tony Dutt, the agent for Jrue Holiday, was in Wells Fargo Center on Monday night doing his due-diligence for his client, who is in line for a possible contract extension before the start of the season.
I don't know how the discussions went or how they are progressing, but I don't think that Holiday, who has said that he wants to be a “max-contract player,” is going to see a deal get done before the Oct. 31 deadline.
I don't have a firm idea of what is going to happen, but I have talked with enough people around the league to think that they are not going to get a deal done and Holiday will reach next summer as a restricted free agent. If that is the case, the Sixers will be in position to offer Holiday a larger contract than any other team.
The problem with an extension for Holiday and his (likely) impending restricted free agency is trying to figure out just how good he is. For the most part, his regular-season numbers have been about average at best. He's averaged 13.7 points, 5.5 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game the last two seasons. He's a career 44-percent shooter from the field, 37.7 percent from 3-point range, and a 79.8-percent shooter from the free throw line.
He's not a bad player by any means, but is he really a max-contract-type of guy or anything close to it? The advanced stats showing a below-average PER (14.7), a true shooting percentage of 49.6 percent and a WS/48 under a .100 the last two seasons (.094 and .092, respectively) that don't exactly line up with his contract wishes.
The tricky part with him is he has outperformed his regular-season production in each of his two playoff appearances. He seems to "up his game" when you get to the postseason, and that has caused him to be one of the fan favorites for the Sixers.
This is definitely a negotiating tactic of saying he wants to be a max-contract player and then seeing where the Sixers' offer comes in. But if it's so outrageous that the team doesn't want to come to an agreement on an extension and would rather let his restricted free agency play out, that's going to hurt him if he doesn't show a big improvement.
He isn't the first guy who is up for a contract extension off his rookie deal to come in asking for too much money. And he won't be the last guy to end up in restricted free agency because a team doesn't want to bid against itself. His play will ultimately dictate what the market says he's worth, and the market will determine just how big his next deal is.
If he can make his postseason performances become regular-season production, he'll probably end up with a pretty generous offer sheet next summer.