The Spurs have won 128 games and three playoff series and LaMarcus Aldridge has made an All-NBA third team and an All-Star team during his two years in San Antonio.
But neither side has seemed completely satisfied with their relationship.
Maybe the solution is more time?
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Though today is the deadline for rookie-scale contract extensions and extensions for veterans with multiple years remaining on their current contracts, it’s not a significant date for Aldridge. He’s under contract for $21,461,010 this season and holds a $22,347,015 player option for next season.
Today is the last day Aldridge sign an extension in conjunction with opting in, but if the Spurs and Aldridge want him to earn $22,347,015 in 2018-19, they could make that his salary in the first year of an extension signed in conjunction with him opting out. Effectively, any terms Aldridge and San Antonio could reach now, they could reach through June 30.
The largest allowable extension is four years, $115,374,390. It’s not a given the Spurs would offer the 32-year-old that much, but they clearly value veteran stability over flexibility.
Playing with James Harden and Chris Paul, Clint Capela is in line for a breakout season. The Rockets’ young center will be a primary lob target for the point guards, and Capela’s interior defense and rebounding will cover for the skilled players behind him.
But Capela’s big payday must wait.
Today is the deadline for rookie-scale contract extension, and Capela reportedly won’t get one.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Rockets center Clint Capela will become a restricted free agent next off-season, a person with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans said.
The Rockets risk Capela improving his stock and earning more money than he would’ve gotten now, but they gain flexibility.
Capela will count just $7,003,585 against the cap next summer until signed or renounced. If he signed an extension, he would’ve immediately counted at his 2017-18 salary, which surely would’ve been higher. This way, Houston can conduct its other business then exceed the salary cap to re-sign Capela using his Bird Rights.
This is also a hedge with new owner Tilman Fertitta’s luxury-tax reluctance. Three Rockets starters will be free agents next summer – Paul, Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela. Re-signing all three could be quite costly, but without Capela locked in, letting him walk in order to keep other players is at least on the table.
And, of course, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony can all become free agents next summer. With Paul already in Houston, this also facilitates the the tantalizing possibility of a banana-boat reunion there.
The Grizzlies have 16 players with guaranteed salaries on standard contracts – one more than the regular-season limit – plus partially guaranteed Mario Chalmers, who excelled when healthy for Memphis.
It appears the Grizzlies will solve that dilemma with a couple awkward subtractions – Wade Baldwin and Rade Zagorac.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Baldwin was the No. 17 pick just last year, and it’s incredibly rare to give up such a high selection so soon. But Baldwin was dreadful on the court as a rookie, appearing wholly incapable of running an offense or playing off the ball. The guard (ideally a point, but maybe a combo out of necessity) has potential defensively, but he’s not close to ready on the other end. After major questions about his attitude coming out Vanderbilt, perhaps it’s not entirely surprising he got the quick hook.
Zagorac’s is even quicker. The No. 35 pick last year, he first signed this summer – to a deal with multiple guaranteed seasons, including slightly more than the minimum this year.
If Baldwin and Zagorac are less valuable to Memphis than other players, the Grizzlies are better off cutting bait now. It looks bad, but compounding mistakes is far worse than publicly admitting errors and moving on.
Speaking of, it looks like I was totally wrong on Baldwin, though perhaps a team with less of a roster crunch would take a flier on him.
C.J. McCollum was suspended for the Trail Blazers’ season opener against the Suns on Wednesday for leaving the bench during a preseason fight between Caleb Swanigan and Alex Len.
McCollum, via NBC Sports Northwest:
I should’ve known better, with my history of violence on the court, that I would get suspended.
I’m getting a harsher punishment than the people actually involved in the events. And I’m losing money. And I’m not playing. Would that bother you?
They could have fined me more money and allowed me to play in the regular-season game. It’s the intent, and it’s usually up to them. It’s to their discretion. So, they had a choice. They didn’t have to suspend me.
The NBA has a strict leave-the-bench-during-a-fight, get-suspended rule. McCollum – nobody’s idea of an enforcer, as he sarcastically alluded to – was probably just trying to break up the fight. But in the heat of the moment, it’s tough to discern the intent of a player charging in. He can easily escalate the quarrel. So, the league has a blanket rule and makes no exceptions – a policy that has had far more positive than negative effect.
This is the downside, a player getting suspended for trying play peacemaker. But everyone knows the rule at this point, and McCollum is paying the appropriate price for breaking it.
The Jazz’s contract-extension talks with Rodney Hood… apparently went nowhere.
Today is the deadline for rookie-scale extensions, and it seems Hood’s fate is sealed.
Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune:
Rodney Hood and the Utah Jazz will not come to an agreement on a contract extension, barring a last minute change, sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune
The Jazz sounded like they wanted to see another season from Hood before giving him a new deal. They retain team control, as he’ll become a restricted free agent next summer.
Hood stagnated last last year during an injury-plagued season. Staying healthy would certainly increase Utah’s confidence in him. I understand the patient approach.
With Gordon Hayward and George Hill gone, Hood is in line for a bigger role. He’s a good 3-point shooter and solid secondary ball-handler. At 6-foot-8, he’s also provide solid wing defense.
Hood has already proven to be a starter on a good team. If he takes the next step – he’s my Most Improved Player pick – the Jazz might regret not locking him up now. But if he has a breakout year and they have to pay him big next summer, that’d probably be fine with them, too.