The draft class of 2014 is eligible to sign contract extensions for the first time this summer. After what was considered at the time to be a very deep draft, a lot has happened in terms of development over these players’ first three NBA seasons. Going from 1-30 we’ll look at what the chances are each player signs an extension this summer or not.
1. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota Timberwolves: Wiggins was initially drafted by Cleveland before being flipped to Minnesota in the deal that brought Kevin Love to the Cavs. After some ups and down in his first year while still winning Rookie of the Year, Wiggins has developed into a 20+ PPG scorer. He’s meshed well with Karl-Anthony Towns and is showing signs of improved defense as well.
Extension Prediction: Five-year max contract. The Wolves can’t afford to let one of their prime building blocks get away and they won't have to decide between Wiggins and Zach LaVine for the five-year while keeping the other one for Karl-Anthony Towns. Minnesota wasn’t shy about extending Gorgui Dieng and won’t be with Wiggins either, as they sign their young core long-term.
2. Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks: After tearing his ACL in his rookie year, Parker bounced back with a solid sophomore season. In year three he was really taking off, scoring 20 PPG on over 49% shooting and had jumped all the way up to 36.5% from behind the arc. Parker unfortunately tore the same ACL again. This puts things in question for him extension-wise. It would be a major leap of faith for Milwaukee to commit to Parker long term, especially since they won’t see him play again until after the deal would be signed.
Extension Prediction: No extension. The Bucks will likely let Parker get to restricted free agency in the summer of 2018. They’ll use their cap space this summer and let Parker get back on the court. They’ll retain match rights on any contract, so if Parker does bounce back for a second time, Milwaukee can match any offer he gets.
3. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers: Embiid’s scenario is something we’ve never seen before. He’s played just 31 games in three years, with all of them coming in his abbreviated 2016-17 season. When on the court, he’s shown he is quite possibly the NBA’s best young center and worthy of a max contract. But availability is a skill and the continued and varied injuries are a huge concern for a franchise that is already dealing with another injured young player in Ben Simmons.
Extension Prediction: Five-Year Max Contract. The Sixers seem to believe that Embiid will bounce back from this latest setback just fine. They’ve seen enough to commit to him as their franchise centerpiece. Most importantly, they probably have enough salary cap flexibility for at least two to three more years to work around this contract, should Embiid not prove able to stay on the court.
4. Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic: Shoehorned into the small forward position, Gordon looked like he wasn’t going to live up to his once high potential. Following the Serge Ibaka trade to Toronto, Gordon has settled back in to his natural power forward position and thriving once again. The Magic no longer are messing around with Gordon as anything but a 4 and he’s back to being a long term building block.
Extension Prediction: Four years/$100 million. Orlando doesn’t have a lot to build around. They have decent enough role players, but no stars. Gordon is the only player on the roster with the potential to reach that level. The Magic will sign him long-term, while giving themselves a little bit of wiggle room, just shy of the max, in case he doesn’t quite get there.
5. Dante Exum – Utah Jazz: Exum is another member of the class who has missed significant time with injury. He tore his ACL and missed the entire 2015-16 season. This year he’s come back and played mostly backup minutes behind George Hill. An extension for Exum is likely tied to Hill’s free agency this summer. If Hill stays in Utah, are the Jazz going to commit to Exum on a big contract?
Extension Prediction: No Extension if Hill re-signs with Utah. Four years/$64 million if Hill leaves. It all depends on Hill. Utah isn’t going to commit big to a backup point guard when they can get one elsewhere for much cheaper. If Hill leaves, the Jazz will likely keep Exum around and install him as the starter moving forward, as they have other pressing free agency concerns this summer as well.
6. Marcus Smart – Boston Celtics: In his third year, Smart is still primarily a backup, but he’s turned into somewhat of a “super sub” for Boston. He plays 1-3 on a regular basis, plays starter level minutes and continues to be one of the best defensive players in the league. The Celtics love everything he brings and he’s a big part of the scrappy, tough culture that Boston has built under Brad Stevens. His continued development as a point guard and improved shooting help a lot as well.
Extension Prediction: Four years/$80 million. The Celtics signed Avery Bradley to a deal that many considered an overpayment when he was a free agent and they similarly re-signed Jae Crowder as well in 2015. Smart is beloved by the coaching staff and front office and they’ll pay to keep him around, especially with some uncertainty around the guard position given Isaiah Thomas and Bradley’s impending free agency in 2018.
7. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers: After missing almost his entire rookie year, Randle has shown promise over the last two seasons. Luke Walton has him playing as the Lakers’ light version of Draymond Green, as a playmaking power forward. The challenge is that while Randle does a lot of things well, he doesn’t excel in any one area. And the Lakers have to consider his fit with D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and what they hope will be another high pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Extension Prediction: No extension if the Lakers keep their pick in 2017. Four years/$70 million if LA loses the pick. This one is a little complicated. If Los Angeles loses their pick in 2017, they also lose their pick in 2019. That would leave the Lakers a little short on young talent. That alone could drive them to keep Randle. If they get to keep the pick and can add another young player, they can let him get to restricted free agency in the summer of 2018 and make a decision at that point. It also gives them another year of development for Ingram and Larry Nance Jr. as well.
8. Nik Stauskas – Philadelphia 76ers: After flaming out in Sacramento and being traded to Philly in a salary dump, Stauskas is showing signs of being an NBA player this season. He’s shooting almost 38% from three and making plays off the dribble. These are good signs for a player who looked like a fringe guy his first year.
Extension Prediction: No extension. While the signs of improvement are encouraging, Stauskas hasn’t shown enough to earn an extension yet. He’ll play out year four of his Rookie Scale deal and Philadelphia will retain match rights on him in the summer of 2018 if he really blossoms.
9. Noah Vonleh – Portland Trail Blazers: Vonleh was traded to Portland from Charlotte after his rookie year and has started for the majority of his time with the Blazers. Despite that, he hasn’t shown he’s anything beyond a situation role player.
Extension Prediction: No extension. With so much money already invested in their roster, Portland can’t afford to gamble on Vonleh. He’ll be a restricted free agent in 2018.
10. Elfrid Payton – Orlando Magic: While Payton has flashed at times, he’s still a limited player at the point guard position. He can do a lot of things well, but he’s not elite in any facet and can’t shoot. His 46% shooting this year is misleading, because he’s at just 26% from behind the arc. He even lost his job to D.J. Augustin for a stretch of this season. Payton is probably in the lower third of starting point guards at this point in his career.
Extension Prediction: No extension. The Magic can’t lock into both Gordon and Payton without seeing them play together more in lineups that make sense. Gordon has shown more and has higher potential, so he gets signed and Payton goes the RFA route.
11. Doug McDermott – Oklahoma City Thunder: McDermott may have a long term home with Oklahoma City after being acquired at the Trade Deadline. He’s an ideal running mate for both Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo with his ability to shoot the ball. He’s also a solid option as a small ball power forward when OKC wants to go small.
Extension Prediction: Four years/$60 million. Still unsure if he’s best as a starter or coming off the bench, OKC will sign McDermott to a middle of the road type of contract that protects them if he never becomes a starter. And being capped out due to extending Oladipo and Steven Adams last year, the Thunder are limited to retaining their own free agents for at least the next couple of years, which also works in McDermott’s favor.
12. Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers: Because Saric did not sign his Rookie Scale contract until the 2016-17 season, he’s not eligible for an extension this summer.
13. Zach LaVine – Minnesota Timberwolves: LaVine was having his best year as a pro in 2016-17. He was a full time starter for the first time and delivering 18.9 PPG with solid playmaking alongside Wiggins and Towns. Unfortunately he tore his ACL in February and is now out for the foreseeable future.
Extension Prediction: No extension. Like Parker, LaVine is going to have to prove he’s fully back before Minnesota can commit to him long term. His game relies heavily on his otherworldly athleticism, so any loss of that is a major concern. Had he not torn his ACL, he would have been looking at a four-year deal for slightly less than the max, similar to what Oladipo signed for with OKC this past summer.
14. T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns: Warren is experiencing his first mostly healthy season this year and producing solid numbers for Phoenix. His offensive game is a throwback to the days where mid-range jumpers were preferred and he excels in that area. The rest of his game can use some work.
Extension Prediction: No extension. The Suns will want to see more from Warren and to be sure he can make it through multiple seasons fully healthy. They’ll also be leery of committing major money to a player who doesn’t exactly fit in the modern NBA.
15. Adreian Payne– Minnesota Timberwolves: Payne has been a bust and had his 2017-18 4th Year Rookie Scale Option declined.
16. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers: Nurkic was a hot prospect with Denver until being supplanted by Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets tried to play the two together and it didn’t work. Nurkic was dealt to Portland in February has played great for the Blazers, averaging nearly 15 PPG to go along with eight RPGs and four APG.
Extension Prediction: Four years/$68 million. Due to signing Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Mo Harkless and Meyers Leonard to big contracts, the Blazers are in a tricky spot cap-wise. They are on pace to have no cap space for several years and to be a Luxury Tax payer. Because of this, they can’t afford to let Nurkic get to restricted free agency and then be forced to have to match a big offer.
17. James Young – Boston Celtics: Despite the occasional flash of offensive potential, Young hasn’t cracked the Boston rotation for consistent minutes and had his 2017-18 4th Year Rookie Scale Option declined.
18. Tyler Ennis – Los Angeles Lakers: Ennis hasn’t been able to consistent minutes with Phoenix, Milwaukee or Houston prior to being traded to the Lakers at the Trade Deadline and had his 2017-18 4th Year Rookie Scale Option declined.
19. Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets: After a solid sophomore season, Harris has continued to improve in his third year. He’s developed into one of the better shooters in the NBA at 48.8% overall and 42.2% from behind the arc and currently boasts an Offensive Rating of 118. He’s an ideal fit with Jokic, as he can cut for layups or spot up for jumpers. His off the dribble game continues to improve as well.
Extension Prediction: Four years/$80 million. Denver sees Harris as a huge part of their future. They believe he can pair with Jokic and Jamal Murray for years to come to give them three very good offensive weapons. Knowing that Harris would get huge offers as a restricted free agent, the Nuggets will look to lock him up long term before he gets there.
20. Bruno Caboclo – Toronto Raptors: The man Fran Fraschilla famously said was “two years away from being two years away” when he was drafted has proven to be just that. He’s played in just 22 NBA games in his career and has logged most of his time in the D-League.
Extension Prediction: No extension. Toronto will let Caboclo get to restricted free agency following his fourth year. If he unexpectedly blossoms next year, they’ll consider matching deals in the summer of 2018.
21. Mitch McGary – Free Agent: McGary was waived by Oklahoma City prior to 2016-17. He’s struggled with injuries and off court issues and has not played this season.
22. Jordan Adams – Free Agent: Adams was plagued by knee injuries early in his rookie season and never made it back. Memphis waived him prior to the 2016-17 season and his basketball future is severely in doubt.
23. Rodney Hood – Utah Jazz: Hood has become one of the steals of the 2014 Draft. He’s a solid scorer who can score inside and outside and make plays off the dribble. He’s had some injury issues this year, which has held back his development as a playmaker, after he showed signs of improvement in that area last season
Extension Prediction: Four years/$80 million. Unlike Exum, whose future is tied to Hill to some extent, Hood is a guy the Jazz want to retain at almost any cost. After extending Rudy Gobert, Utah will attempt to do the same with Hood, especially as insurance if Gordon Hayward leaves this summer.
24. Shabazz Napier – Portland Trail Blazers: Napier is now on his third team in three years after going from Miami to Orlando to Portland. He’s recently cracked the rotation as the Blazers’ backup point guard, but hasn’t shown much in his three years in the league.
Extension Prediction: No extension. Portland isn’t committing any sort of long-term money to a player that is likely their fourth or fifth option at point guard when everyone is healthy.
25. Clint Capela – Houston Rockets: Capela has blossomed as the starting center for the Rockets. He’s a perfect fit as the roll man in the heavy pick and roll offense that Mike D’Antoni prefers and has shown good chemistry with James Harden. He’s shooting 64% from the field and does a solid job on the glass and defending the rim.
Extension Prediction: No extension. The Rockets will keep Capela, but will use his relatively low cap hold in the summer of 2018 as a way to preserve some cap space. Trevor Ariza and Lou Williams both expire that year and Houston will be looking to re-load around James Harden. Capela will be a Rocket long term, but he’ll have to wait just a bit to get a big contract.
26. P.J. Hairston – Free Agent: Hairston was waived after his 3rd Year Rookie Scale option for 2016-17 was declined. He’s been playing in the NBADL and attempting to get another shot at an NBA roster.
27. Bogdan Bogdanovic – Draft Rights held by Sacramento Kings: Bogdanovic has not yet come over to the NBA. His Draft Rights were acquired at the 2016 NBA Draft by the Kings, who announced they would sign him for the 2017-18 season. However, Bogdanovic signed a deal with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey for 2017-18, which puts those plans in doubt.
28. C.J. Wilcox – Orlando Magic: Wilcox has been unable to find consistent minutes in an NBA rotation for either the Los Angeles Clippers or Orlando Magic and had his 2017-18 4th Year Rookie Scale Option declined.
29. Josh Huestis – Oklahoma City Thunder: Huestis was drafted by OKC because of willingness to be a domestic “draft and stash” in the NBADL for a year before signing. He’s now in his second year and not extension eligible until 2018, which seems unlikely given he’s played in six games in his two NBA seasons.
30. Kyle Anderson – San Antonio Spurs: After playing sparingly as a rookie, Anderson played in 78 games in 2015-16 and flashed some ability to be a rotation player. He’s fallen back to disuse this year and receives scarce minutes. He has some playmaking ability as a point forward, but doesn’t do enough of anything great to this point.
Extension Prediction: No extension. It’s the Spurs, so maybe Anderson breaks out in his fourth year and gets some offers as a restricted free agent in 2018. He’s shown enough to stick around to this point and sometimes guys develop late, but he hasn’t shown enough to garner an extension this summer.