Five other 2013 draft class members who likely join C.J. McCollum with contract extensions

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C.J. McCollum got his — four years, $106 million.

The 2013 NBA draft class can get extensions between now and the Oct. 31 deadline. But this is a class that may not see a lot of them. One reason: Many of the top players — No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, No. 3 pick Otto Porter, No. 4 pick Cody Zeller, and on down the list— haven’t actually earned the kind of “we have to lock them up now and pay the man” extensions generally given out at this point. The other issue: There will be a different Collective Bargaining Agreement in place next summer, and that leads to uncertainty for teams (and players).

But here are five guys that should join McCollum on the list of guys getting extended and paid.

1) Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks. Considered a roll of the dice at the time, he has turned out to be the best player out of this draft class (that success may have encouraged the Bucks to draft Thon Maker so high in the 2016 draft). He is the point-forward the Bucks will entrust the ball to next season. He is their most gifted player and the cornerstone on which Milwaukee is building its future — a future that includes a new arena in downtown the team needs to fill in a few years. Antetokounmpo will help sell tickets there. The Greek Freak averaged 16.9 points per game on 50.6 percent shooting last season, with 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists a night as well. This clearly is a guy that gets locked up with a max extension, and he is going to accept it. The deal will get done.

2) Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder just traded for him, and whether Russell Westbrook stays or goes Oladipo — the No. 2 pick in 2013 — looks like a key part of the Thunder’s future. Which traditionally means they would and should lock him up. Right now, everything in OKC is on hold until Westbrook tells the team his plans, but after that happens the Thunder should try to lock Oladipo down. That said, with all the uncertainty around the team, they may want to wait and let him become a restricted free agent next summer, where other teams would try to poach him.

3) Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz.
Utah is one of the teams on the rise in the West (along with Minnesota) and that bright future is largely built around a defense anchored by Gobert. He is one of the best defensive bigs in the game, a future Defensive Player of the Year, with an improving offensive game. Again, the organization has questions to face heading into next summer — starting with can they keep Gordon Hayward? — and they have to figure out just how much they can win with Gobert and Derrick Favors paired up front (do they have enough floor spacing?). But whatever the answers to those questions, locking up a defensive anchor big with a huge contract seems a no brainer.

4) Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks. When the Hawks traded Jeff Teague they played their hand here — Schroder is now the point guard of the present and future in Atlanta, and they are banking on his continued development to be a key part of their future. Which means they probably lock up the 23-year-old German with an extension. However, if they want to hesitate because they are not sure they can let him go to restricted free agency next summer and let the market set his price.

5) Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit Pistons. Stan Van Gundy has put together a core of young players he likes in Detroit and Caldwell-Pope is part of that. He’s a good defender who needs to become more efficient on offense (although he did average 14.5 points per game last season). This would not be a max extension, but the two sides should be able to find a number they like. That said, Van Gundy may prefer to wait on a deal to keep a little more flexibility next summer.

Others to watch: Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder (they want to keep him, but likely don’t pay to extend him to keep their flexibility); Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers; Alex Len, Phoenix Suns; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City Thunder (not likely but possible).

Greek Freak makes himself at home in Paris, scores 30 points, Bucks beat Hornets

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PARIS — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 12 rebounds and the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks beat the Charlotte Hornets 116-103 on Friday night in the first NBA regular-season game in France.

Milwaukee improved to 40-6 with its eighth straight victory. The Bucks have the best 46-game start in franchise history. They were 39-7 in 1970-71 when they went on to win the NBA championship.

Eric Bledsoe added 20 points and five assists for the Bucks.

Malik Monk led Charlotte with 31 points. The Hornets have lost eight in a row.

Milwaukee rallied to tie it at 78 going into the fourth quarter. Pat Connaughton put the Bucks in front with a dunk in the fourth. Then Antetokounmpo got going, drawing a foul as he slalomed through the defense.

Report: Needing depth at center, Dallas trades for Willie Cauley-Stein from Golden State

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Dallas took a big hit this week when center Dwight Powell went down with a torn Achilles. The Mavericks’ starting center was a critical pick-and-roll partner with Luka Doncic, a roll man and vertical threat that allowed Kristaps Porzingis to space the floor (along with other Dallas shooters), plus Powell was a solid team defender.

Willie Cauley-Stein is going to get a chance to fill that role.

Golden State is trading Cauley-Stein to Dallas for a second-round pick.

Dallas just made a trade for Justin Patton to waive him and clear out a roster spot for this trade.

Cauley-Stein is averaging an efficient 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds a game for Golden State. More importantly for Dallas, he provides the athletic dive man, a threat on the roll they need to keep things open for Doncic.

Dallas could have waited out the market to try and land a better center, but this gives them a reliable fit for minimal cost (a late second-round pick, they kept Golden State’s own second rounder). Cauley-Stein will split time at the five with Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, and Boban Marjanovic.

For those of you crunching the numbers at home:

For Golden State, in the short term, this move creates a couple of open roster spots. One of those likely will be used to re-sign Marquese Chriss, who was waived last week. The other roster spot likely will go to Ky Bowman.

Golden State adds a pick and a trade exception for sending out a player that was not part of their long-term plans anyway.

In trade about money/roster space, Mavericks send Isaiah Roby to Thunder for Justin Patton, cash

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We have a trade…

That shifts things around on the end of the bench in Dallas so they could create a roster spot forWillie Cauley-Stein (a trade that was announced later). A trade that is mostly about saving some and rolling the dice on a project in OKC.

Dallas is sending Isaiah Roby to OKC for Justin Patton, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

What is really going on here?

For Dallas, this is about clearing out a roster spot, it plans to waive Patton. That roster spot is going to Willie Cauley-Stein in a trade with Golden State, that was just reported. The Mavericks lost center Dwight Powell to a torn Achilles this week and needed to bring in a player or two — via trade or free agency — to help bolster the existing front line of Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, and Boban Marjanovic. Here is Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

The move also clears out a little cash for Dallas.

In Oklahoma City, they get a young player to develop but also save some money.

Roby has not played in an NBA game yet. The rookie out of Nebraska — taken 45th overall last June — is a development project, but one who passes the eye test for an NBA power forward. He did a lot of things well in college — scoring, rebounding, works hard off the ball — but can he do that at an NBA level? He’s played in nine G-League games this season, averaging 9.2 points and 7 rebounds a game.

 

Bulls: Lauri Markkanen out 4-6 weeks

Lauri Markkanen
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Lauri Markkanen ranked No. 34 on our list of the 50 best players in 5 years entering the season.

Instead of building toward that promise, Markkanen has underwhelmed. His shot just isn’t falling as hoped.

Now, the news get even worse.

Bulls:

The Bulls (2.5 games and two games out) have been hanging in the playoff race. But there was already little reason to believe they’d make a postseason push. Now, there’s even less rationale to predict a longshot postseason run.

Markkanen will be eligible for a contract extension next offseason. The 22-year-old can still fulfill his potential as a 7-foot shooter with defensive versatility. But he’s running out of time to show consistent contributions. That’ll make it tougher for Chicago to offer a satisfactory extension.

Two of the very things that could happen for the Bulls are Markkanen shaking off his extended slump and landing a high draft pick.

This could help with both.