Draft class of ’08 not getting many contract extensions

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Pop quiz: How many players out of the 2008 NBA draft have gotten the early extensions to their rookie deals as of now?

Answer: One. Derrick Rose.

That could change a little over the next 10 days — Jan. 25 is the deadline to do an early extension — but only a little.

As David Aldridge points out at NBA.com, the trend in recent seasons of few rookies getting early extensions to their max deals remains.

At the moment, only a handful of players — Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Denver’s Danilo Gallinari and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook — are even in the hunt to get deals, though several players’ agents are engaged, or will soon engage, in conversations with their respective teams. But so far, no one’s betting on the come for an Eric Gordon, or a Roy Hibbert, or a JaVale McGee. There’s always someone that gets a deal below the radar, as when Phoenix’s Jared Dudley got a five-year, $22.5 million extension last year….

Last year, only five of the 30 first-round picks in the 2007 class got extensions: Kevin Durant (five years, $85 million), Atlanta center Al Horford (five years, $60 million), Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (five years, $40 million) Bulls center Joakim Noah (five years, $60 million) and Dudley. That was one fewer extension than the 2006 class…

“No one wants to set the market,” a team executive texted Sunday night. “They would rather wait and try and let the guy get a deal and match. Also make sure the guy doesn’t get hurt.”

Teams are being cautious, the lockout is part of that but teams should be careful. How many players out of the first 30 in 2008 would you really want to lock in long term? Rose for sure, and I would say Love and Westbrook should get deals as well. I’d give Danilo Gallinari a deal if I thought the price were fair, same with Nicolas Batum, Serge Ibaka, O.j. Mayo and Hibbert. But after that? No way J.J. Hickson or Brook Lopez or Brandon Rush get locked up — give them a qualifying offer so you can match anything from another team, but why over commit?

A few more will come in the next few days, but that don’t expect to see many.

Report: Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo staying in NBA draft

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
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When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.

A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.

Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:

Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.

He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.

But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.

He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.

NBA: James Harden should have been called for offensive foul late in Rockets’ Game 4 win over Thunder

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The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.

The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.

A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.

Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.

NBA: LeBron James got away with travelling before go-ahead 3-pointer in Cavaliers’ Game 4 win over Pacers

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The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)

So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.

A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.

Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.

Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.

Raptors’ Norman Powell had a couple monster dunks Monday (VIDEO)

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“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”

That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.

Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.