You might have heard that this year's free-agent market lacks star power. Less discussed is the list of players eligible for contract extensions, which certainly does not. The Golden State Warriors have already come to terms on a four-year, $215 million extension with Stephen Curry, according to Marc Stein, who was also the first to report that the Miami Heat will sign Jimmy Butler to a four-year, $182 million extension.
The list of players who have made an All-Star team in the past three seasons and are eligible for a veteran extension is long: Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Russell Westbrook and D'Angelo Russell.
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There is also a long list of stars and sub-stars among the players eligible for rookie extensions, including Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, Michael Porter Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr., Miles Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo, Collin Sexton and Robert Williams III. Young and Gilgeous-Alexander have already reportedly agreed to max deals.
Some news and notes on this front:
- Doncic is expected to commit to the Dallas Mavericks on a five-year supermax worth $202 million over five seasons, but not until he's done playing for Slovenia in Tokyo, per Stein. Seems like a good deal for both sides!
- When the dust settles, expect Young, Gilgeous-Alexander, Ayton and Porter to have all signed max extensions worth $168 million over five years, per Stein. That doesn't mean the deals will be identical, however. The best a player can hope for is what Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum got last offseason: a salary bump to 30 percent of the cap if the "Rose Rule" criteria are met, a player option on the final season and a 15 percent trade kicker. That is reportedly the deal that Young has agreed to with the Atlanta Hawks, while Gilgeous-Alexander's extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder does not include a player option, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
- After Team USA practice in Tokyo on Monday, LaVine commented on his situation -- entering free agency, the Chicago Bulls had the option to do the renegotiate-and-extend thing with him, if they were willing to deprive themselves of precious short-term cap space. "I outplayed my contract," he said. "I've been very loyal to Chicago. I like Chicago. I just want my respect, and if it's now or later, it's something that we gotta work out internally and we'll go from there." It turns out it's going to be later: As soon as free agency started, the Bulls reportedly agreed to a sign-and-trade to acquire Lonzo Ball, giving LaVine a new backcourt partner, and they've since followed that up by adding Alex Caruso and DeMar DeRozan. Rather than paying LaVine now, they elected to use their space to try to improve their roster and their chances of retaining him long-term. It's unclear if they're done dealing -- what's up with Lauri Markkanen? -- but they're obviously trying to put LaVine in a position to make the playoffs for the first time in his career.
- The New York Knicks picked up Mitchell Robinson's $1.8 million player option for next season, and he's eligible for a four-year, $51 million extension. If they decide to use some of their cap space to renegotiate his contract, they can go higher than that. Most of their space is gone, but this is still technically possible.
- Some extension candidates have already been traded (Jonas Valanciunas, Landry Shamet) and in trade rumors (Sexton) leading up to this offseason.
- Here are 15 more non-star extension candidates: Clint Capela, Aaron Gordon, Terance Mann, Marcus Smart, Jalen Brunson, Larry Nance Jr., Robert Covington, Malcolm Brogdon, Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, Seth Curry, Brook Lopez, Kyle Anderson, Daniel Gafford, Shake Milton.