NBA rookie extension roundup: Eleven 2018 first-round picks sign new deals with their teams ahead of deadline

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Rookie scale contracts in the NBA follow a uniform schedule. The salary is based on where the player was drafted. The first two seasons are guaranteed. The second two seasons are team options. After that, a player moves on to his next contract, which he must negotiate with his or another team. First-round picks become eligible to sign extensions after their third season in the NBA, but they have a limited window to do so. 

The deadline for 2018 first-round picks to sign rookie extensions came and went on Monday, with a grand total of 11 players committing to return to their teams beyond the season. The following players signed new deals before the deadline arrived:

  • No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic: Five years, $207 million. Doncic is eligible for the full $207 million through the Derrick Rose Rule because he has made All-NBA Teams in the past two seasons.
  • No. 4 overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr.: Four years, $105 million. 
  • No. 5 overall pick Trae Young: Five years, $172 million, but will go up to $207 million if he meets the requirements for the Derrick Rose Rule (All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year or MVP).
  • No. 7 overall pick Wendell Carter Jr: Four years, $50 million
  • No. 10 overall pick Mikal Bridges: Four years, $90 million. 
  • No. 11 overall pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Five years, $172 million, but will go up to $207 million if he meets the requirements for the Derrick Rose Rule.
  • No. 14 overall pick Michael Porter Jr.: Five years, $172 million, but only $145.3 million guaranteed. Will go up to $207 million if he meets the requirements for the Derrick Rose Rule. 
  • No. 19 overall pick Kevin Huerter: Four years, $65 million.
  • No. 21 overall pick Grayson Allen: Two years, $20 million.
  • No. 26 overall pick Landry Shamet: Four years, $43 million.
  • No. 27 overall pick Robert Williams: Four years, $54 million.

Five first-round picks from the 2018 class, Jerome Robinson, Zhaire Smith, Jacob Evans, Dzanan Musa and Omari Spellman, are currently out of the NBA. In addition, No. 22 overall pick Chandler Hutchison and No. 25 overall pick Mo Wagner had previously been waived and have since signed with new teams. That leaves 12 2018 first-round picks set to become restricted free agents next offseason. Here is the complete list:

When a player becomes a restricted free agent, his team can retain the right to match any offer he receives so long as they make him a qualifying offer. That offer is a one-year deal at a predetermined amount based on that player’s draft position. If they do not make their player a qualifying offer, that player becomes an unrestricted free agent, but most of the players listed above will be restricted. 

Although the majority of the 2018 class did not sign extensions, the total number of 11 is actually quite high. Since 2014, no class had seen more than 10 extensions. The average number in that period was 7.4. But the 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement has steered teams away from hoarding cap space, which has in turn made free agency a less desirable outcome for players. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, that has allowed this offseason to set the record for most money committed for rookie extensions at more than $1.1 billion.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the 2018 class has accomplished quite a bit in its short time in the NBA. Young and Doncic are already All-Stars. Several other players aren’t far behind. Ayton came within two wins of the championship last season. This class should produce quite a few champions when it’s all said and done, and now, many of them have contracts that reflect that. 

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