Kevin Durant got his, because he is a value at any price. Joakim Noah got his because he is a cornerstone of what is being built in Chicago.
Al Horford may get one because, well, if you’re going to pay Joe Johnson that ridiculous money you better have something left over for Horford. But that one getting done is a coin flip right now.
After that, the NBA draft class of 2007 is without extensions to their rookie deals, as David Aldridge noted at NBA.com. Only three guys may get extensions, which would be about half the normal amount (formally they have until a Nov. 1 deadline).
Players like Jeff Green and Rodney Stuckey — guys whose teams keep talking about how they are part of the future of the franchise — can’t get an extension. Other quality players like Al Thornton, Thaddeus Young, Yi Jianlian and more do not have deals either.
Why is it? Did the owners suddenly have a fit of fiscal responsibility? Ha.
There are a couple reasons, one beyond players’ control, one within it.
Part of it is the looming new Collective Bargaining Agreement — nobody knows exactly what the financial landscape of the NBA will look like by the end of the lockout next summer. It could well mean a lower salary cap, and teams do not want to be burdened with big, expensive deals on their payroll if that happens.
If a guy is essential — Durant for instance — you pay the man. But nobody is taking risks with lesser players. Nobody is locking up Nick Young or Jared Dudley in this environment.
If these players are not offered an extension, then they become restricted free agents at the end of the season, meaning they can test the market but their current team can match any offer. So why shouldn’t the Suns see what the market will bear for Dudley, and if they want to match it?
Secondly, a lot of guys have not earned deals.
Portland is wise not to offer former No. 1 pick Greg Oden an extension — when he has played he has been good but you need to see him on the court more. As the number-one overall pick, his price tag (even if you are just picking up another year) is a lot. Make him prove he can play a year, then see what the market is for him.
Likewise, have the Grizzlies seen enough quality play out of Mike Conley to extend him? Yi Jianlian has looked good in preseason but that is not going to earn him a deal. Corey Brewer, Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes are all sort of in the same boat — they’ve played well but not well enough in this market.
Jeff Green in Oklahoma City can make the best case, but the Thunder had to pay Kevin Durant and next summer will want to extend Russell Westbrook, so Green could be caught in a financial pinch.
Like the rest of his class, it’s not all his fault. It’s some bad timing. But the extension is not coming. Sucks to be the class of 2007.