Deandre Ayton wanted a max contract extension from the Suns, Phoenix didn’t want to pay that much, but Indiana forced its hand. The Pacers stepped up and made a four-year, $133 max offer and the Suns had no choice but to match.
Unsurprisingly, both players want a max extension this offseason, something Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report talked about on his Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast.
“The word on the street is definitely that both [R.J.] Barrett and Tyler Herro are looking for maximum contract extensions.”
Those extensions can be signed up until the day before the NBA season starts. It makes them two players to watch the rest of this summer.
Don’t expect either of them to get a sign-and-trade max this offseason. Not wanting a max deal on their books — or even north of $25 million a season — is one of the reasons the Jazz don’t want those players back in a potential Donovan Mitchell trade. For Utah, it’s not about the quality of players, it’s having those big contracts on their books during the coming rebuild.
Can Herro or Barrett find that money elsewhere? Maybe next summer, if they take a step forward during this season.
Herro is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and averaged 20.7 points a game while 38.4% from 3 last season. However, his role shrunk during the playoffs as his defense was a liability (and clean looks were harder to come by.
Miami is thinking more like $25 million a season for Herro, Fischer reported last month. Maybe something in the Jalen Brunson ballpark of four years, $104 million. Not the max, but still generational wealth money. Part of the Heat’s concern here is bigger than Herro, they already have a lot of huge contracts on the books for 2023-24 (when Herro’s extension would kick in): Jimmy Butler at about $45 million (he signed an extension last summer), Bam Adebayo ($32.6 million), Kyle Lowry ($29.7 million) and Duncan Robinson ($18.2 million under contract).
Barrett averaged 20 points a game last season at age 22, but the Knicks are adding big-money scorers to play alongside him. New York just signed Brunson for more than $25 million a year, and are getting close to a trade for a max player and elite scorer in Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks would ideally like to lock up Barrett for less than the max with those two deals on the books
Will there be an Indiana for Herro or Barrett, a team that will give them a max offer sheet if their current teams do not? If they take a big step forward this season — if Herro becomes a starter and improves his defense, for example — maybe a team takes the risk (although teams are hesitant to put out offer sheets they feel will get matched). There could be more than 10 teams with max cap space, one of them may make a run at Barrett or Herro.
The Heat and Knicks would love to take the risk of a big offer sheet off the table, but at a price they like. Keep an eye on them the rest of this summer and into the fall, things could get interesting.