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Ahead of the season, a number of young stars from the 2017 draft class have signed their rookie extensions: Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Bam Adebayo and De'Aaron Fox all cashed out with max extensions, while others, such as Kyle Kuzma and Luke Kennard, have signed lesser, but still substantial deals. 

One player who hasn't come to an agreement, however, is former No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball. On Monday, his agent Rich Paul told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Ball won't be signing a rookie extension with the New Orleans Pelicans, and will instead hit restricted free agency after this season. Paul added that both sides are "positive" about a future together. 

It's always a bit surprising anytime a top three pick doesn't get a rookie extension, but given the circumstances this makes sense for both sides. Playing out the season gives the Pelicans a chance to see whether the improvement Ball showed last season is real, and if he can be a main part of their young core moving forward. At the same time, it gives Ball an opportunity to earn himself some more money in restricted free agency, whether that's from New Orleans or another team. Obviously there's the risk of injury, but it's one he obviously feels is worth taking after whatever initial talks the two sides had in the last few weeks. 

After arriving in New Orleans in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade, Ball made some strides in his first season with the Pelicans, most notably with his outside shooting. Thanks in part to a change in form, he became a 37.5 percent 3-point shooter, and someone teams could no longer leave alone on the perimeter. 

Though still not the most efficient offensive player overall, the improved shooting goes a long way. Not only because the Pelicans desperately need as much spacing as possible around Zion Williamson, but because no longer being a liability on the offensive end allows the best parts of Ball's game to flourish -- his playmaking and defense. 

At this point the ship may have sailed on Ball ever being a true star in this league, but he still has plenty of talent. And with some more gradual improvements this season, he could still wind up with a big payday after all.