Once the clock strikes midnight on Nov. 1, the draft class of 2010 will know for sure if they will be testing free agency next summer or if they’re in for the long haul with their respective team.
There is a good amount of players who are All-Stars, starters and big role players in the league, but who is seen as being worth the investment for years to come?
John Wall: five years, $80 million from the Washington Wizards
The Wizards extending John Wall was a no-brainer. He made great improvements last season, is one of the best point guards in the league, and is expected to be at least in the top five, if not the best, in his prime.
Paul George: five years, $90 million from the Indiana Pacers
George can thank his playoff run for this contract. Taking the Miami Heat to seven games and increasing playoff points per game average by more than double, while averaging only eight more minutes than his 2011-12 postseason, got him the biggest payday of all the eligible 2010 rookie recipients. As he emerges as their best swingman by far with potential to be one of the best forwards in the league, the Pacers couldn’t say no.
DeMarcus Cousins: four years, $62 million from the Sacramento Kings
Sacramento’s decided they’re moving forward with Cousins as the cornerstone of the franchise. Putting aside his conduct issues, his 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game last season got the attention of the Kings front office and got the 23-year-old center his money. The team brought along new pieces such as Greivis Vasquez and Ben McLemore and if Cousins can work well with the new team look, maybe he is, in fact, the player to bring success back to the Kings.
Derrick Favors: four years, $49 million from the Utah Jazz
This may be the riskiest extension so far. After averaging 9.1 points and 7.4 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game, he’s worth a little more than $12 million a year? It remains to be seen how he’ll look now that he’s no longer in the shadow of Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and will be manning the paint alongside Enes Kanter. If he explodes in his new role, however, he’ll be responsible for one of the best contracts in the league for Utah.
Larry Sanders: four years, $44 million from the Milwaukee Bucks
Things have gotten wacky in Milwaukee as they seem to be eyeing a playoff seed and it’ll most likely be closer to the eighth than the first. However, it’s clear that Sanders is their best big man and he’s a big part in the future of the team. While paying that much for a 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game player may be expensive now, he did shoot 50.6 percent and average 2.82 blocks per game, which was second best in the league, and he has potential to be one of the best centers.
Potential 2014 Free Agents
Evan Turner: Philadelphia 76ers
With the Sixers in full-blown tank mode, maybe it’s best if Evan Turner doesn’t receive an extension. The team can flip him before the trade deadline for multiple assets that can help them during the rebuilding process. Earning nearly $5.3 million this year, expect the Sixers to shop him for future picks along with expiring contracts.
Greg Monroe: Detroit Pistons
While it’s no done deal that Monroe will leave Detroit next season, it’s definitely a plausible scenario. The Pistons spent $54 million on Josh Smith this summer and is expected to save their next big extension for Andre Drummond. They’ll need to keep money to secure a decent backcourt as well, so Monroe seems like the odd man out right now.
Gordon Hayward: Utah Jazz
Though reportedly far apart in talks on an extension with Utah, Hayward may be best off accepting what the Jazz are offering. If he doesn’t sign, he’ll run the risk of injury that can affect his deal next summer. If he also doesn’t increase his stats overall with the more touches he’ll get this season, team may shy away from throwing big money at him. While his scoring has gone up every season, his shooting percentages have decreased. He’s seen as much of a crucial piece to the team as Favors, so his deal may be in the same ballpark.
Ed Davis: Memphis Grizzlies
Davis looks to be another odd big man out of this class. After being acquired in the Rudy Gay trade, former coach Lionel Hollins passed on Davis and used Darrell Arthur as the main big off the bench. With Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph starting and the team acquiring Kosta Koufas from the Denver Nuggets for Arthur this summer, it looks like they don’t plan on giving an extension to their fourth big.
Eric Bledsoe: Phoenix Suns
Acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the summer, Bledsoe is seen by Phoenix as a key to their future. They proved it by already hoping to land the extension before he even suits up for a regular season game with the Suns. This could mean that Goran Dragic is on the way out and Bledsoe will have the starting point guard spot all to himself. It’s difficult to judge how this season will reflect his future in Phoenix, since the team will look plenty different by the end of next summer with the all the draft picks they own in next year’s draft. They’re set up for many possibilities, with the team hoping Bledsoe is there for whichever becomes reality.
Topics: Demarcus Cousins, Derrick Favors, Detroit Pistons, Ed Davis, Eric Bledsoe, Evan Turner, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Indiana Pacers, John Wall, Larry Sanders, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, Paul George, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards