It’s three weeks until the deadline to sign guys on their rookie contracts to extensions — Nov. 2 is the deadline this year.
There have been five guys that already got one — Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard got the max; plus Jonas Valanciunas, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and John Henson got deals.
Who else is likely to land one? Marc Stein at ESPN says to keep an eye on the Pistons and Warriors.
Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes, according to league sources, are the players best positioned to secure a lucrative extension this month as the revised deadline approaches and negotiations in both cases continue. Drummond could potentially land a five-year deal worth around $120 million if he earns Designated Player status from the Pistons.
The Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal is another obvious extension candidate, but it’s believed the Wizards hope to convince Beal to hold off on a new deal until next summer — much like the San Antonio Spurs did last season with star swingman Kawhi Leonard — because the delay could lead to Washington having nearly $10 million in additional salary-cap space in the summer of 2016 when it intends to make a run at D.C. native Kevin Durant in free agency.
There likely will be a couple other surprises as well, guys willing to take a discount for the security of a longer deal. The Warriors have been in talks with Festus Ezeli; the Rockets still are talking to Terrence Jones. There are others.
But NBA deals tend to be like you and me at work — it takes a deadline to get motivated and get things done. Expect it to get a lot closer to Nov. 2 before we see things get finalized.
Otto Porter has some handles.
He had room to operate against Bauru Paschoalotto, the Brazilian professional team the Wizards took on in a preseason game. No, that’s not going to fly in an NBA game, but it’s fun to watch here.
The Wizards won 134-100 and Porter had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Washington was led by Marcin Gortat who had 19, leading seven Warriors who had double-digit points.
If you give Kobe Bryant space, he will make you pay.
That’s what Maccabi Haifa reminded us on Sunday night, when they took on the Lakers. Bryant had room to operate off the ball and the result was he put up 21 points on 10 shots, including hitting 4-of-6 from three. The Lakers went on to win easily 126-83.
This game was pretty much the dream of how Kobe could play this season. Of course, it’s also a dream to think he’s going to see defense like this very often this season as well.
Dave Meyers, the former UCLA star who went on to play four NBA seasons, passed away recently.
Meyers was drafted by the Lakers then before he played a game was included in the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar trade. He spent four seasons in Milwaukee, a career cut short by back injuries. The folks at NBA.com put together this video tribute to him.
Among the good things going on with the up-and-coming Minnesota Timberwolves there is this:
The Zach LaVine at point guard experiment is over. When Ricky Rubio got injured last season LaVine was thrown into the role and the results were not pretty (the team averaged 96.7 points per 100 possessions when he was at the point, that’s Sixers level offense). With Rubio back plus Andre Miller and Tyus Jones in house, LaVine can be moved to the two-guard spot.
But the athletic second-year player is struggling there, too. From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
Zach LaVine is 3-for-19 from the field in his first two games since Mitchell named him the starter and shooting guard of the future. He was 1-for-8 Saturday, making his last shot late in the game. LaVine played nearly 28 minutes. Kevin Martin played 12 off the bench.
“Zach right now is playing very tentative,” Mitchell said. “We knew we were going to have to be patient. He’s probably thinking too much, and that’s probably natural for young guys. We have to get him to play more and stop thinking so much.”
Minnesota is not in a win-now place, they should be giving their young players heavy run — including Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns — and letting them learn by trial and error. It’s the preseason, but even when the games count Minnesota needs to look at the big picture, not trying to win in the short term.
I have no idea if he can be a quality starting NBA two guard, but what is the point of pulling him for Kevin Martin right now. Let him learn from his struggles.
Oh, and be sure he enters the dunk contest again.