The rookie-scale extension deadline has passed with a flurry of extensions for the 2018 draft class. Eleven players were extended, including four players signing maximum extensions. These extensions combine for a total of $1.146 billion in guaranteed money.
Twelve players on rookie-scale contracts that were extension-eligible did not extend and it will be interesting to see how the 2022 free agent market shakes out for them. There are now only 4 teams that can generate significant cap space next offseason, which explains why so many players extended now. Here’s a look at those players that will be headed to restricted free agency in 2022.
Deandre Ayton (Phoenix)
Qualifying offer: $16,422,835
Deandre Ayton maintained his “max or no deal” stance and will look to secure a maximum contract next offseason. After Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet signed their respective extensions, the Suns are set to be significant taxpayers next season once they presumably give Ayton his next contract. Phoenix could have a luxury tax bill close to $45 million next season if Ayton receives a maximum salary. There certainly should be a team willing to offer a maximum contract to Ayton like the Pistons or Spurs next offseason. The maximum contract a new team can offer Ayton is $44.6 million less than the one the Suns can offer him.
Marvin Bagley (Sacramento)
Qualifying offer: $14,762,309
It seems very unlikely that the Kings will tender the $14.8 million qualifying offer to Marvin Bagley. Whether he finishes the season in Sacramento or elsewhere, there’s a good chance he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. His expiring $11 million salary could be used as salary filler in a trade.
Mo Bamba (Orlando)
Qualifying offer: $10,096,703
Mo Bamba has shown flashes but he hasn’t been consistent and has been in out of the lineup with several injuries. It’s not surprising he didn’t get extended and it would take a breakout season for the Magic to tender him a $10.1 million qualifying offer.
Collin Sexton (Cleveland)
Qualifying offer: $8,559,357
Collin Sexton has been an excellent offensive player for the Cavaliers who is worthy of a large extension. It will be interesting to find out how high the Cavaliers were willing to go on him. A recent comp Sexton should show in negotiations is Terry Rozier’s four-year, $97 million extension. Luckily for the Cavaliers, they won’t have any luxury tax concerns in regards to re-signing Sexton since they’re currently projected at roughly $30 million below the 2022-23 luxury tax.
Kevin Knox (New York)
Qualifying offer: $7,921,300
Like with Bagley, Kevin Knox seems unlikely to receive a qualifying offer. The fourth-year forward hasn’t been able to find a role with the Knicks as the team’s trajectory has flown past his development.
Miles Bridges (Charlotte)
Qualifying offer: $7,459,976
According to Michael Scotto, people around the league believe Miles Bridges floor in an extension is $20 million annually. He could definitely outplay that valuation and will now test the market next summer. Charlotte could’ve afforded to extend him at an annual range that high despite recent deals for Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre Jr.
Troy Brown Jr. (Chicago)
Qualifying offer: $7,228,448
Troy Brown Jr. still has a chance to prove he’s a rotation player in the NBA. Look for him to use the most of his first full year in Chicago with a great opportunity for minutes to at least prove he should get tendered his $7.2 million qualifying offer.
Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee)
Qualifying offer: $6,602,272
Donte DiVincenzo not getting extended is a little surprising considering that the Bucks have little-to-no means to replace him. Milwaukee is already set to be in the luxury tax for the foreseeable future as long as they keep their starters on the team. While they’ve got their current tax payments controlled reasonably, it’s the payments starting in 2024-25 once they’re in the repeater tax that will really be felt. It sounds like they’ll want him to play out the year and test the market before committing big money to him.
Lonnie Walker IV (San Antonio)
Qualifying offer: $6,311,564
San Antonio has a strong history of extending former first-round picks so it’s a little surprising they couldn’t come to an agreement with Lonnie Walker IV. At the same time, the Spurs have a glut of guards and they are projected to have the most have space next offseason at just under $40 million. He has a relatively low $13.3 million cap hold that could allow the Spurs to still utilize a lot of cap space and re-sign him afterward.
Josh Okogie (Minnesota)
Qualifying offer: $5,857,966
Josh Okogie is the second-most tenured player on the Timberwolves and has undergone two regime changes. It makes sense for the new front office to get a look at Okogie and see how he fits in with one of Minnesota’s deeper benches in years. The Timberwolves are well below next season’s luxury tax so they won’t have any issues tendering his $5.9 million qualifying offer, which seems reasonable given his production thus far in his career.
Aaron Holiday (Washington)
Qualifying offer: $5,791,702
Aaron Holiday’s name has surfaced in trade rumors since last season after struggling to stand out among a deep Pacers backcourt. He now has a fresh start in Washington with a great opportunity to be their primary point guard. The Wizards will have plenty of space below the luxury tax next offseason for the first time in a while. They’ll happily re-sign him to a lucrative new deal with their newfound flexibility if he breaks out this year.
Anfernee Simons (Portland)
Qualifying offer: $5,758,552
While Anfernee Simons has shown that he is a competent player, Portland has a lot of uncertainty with their roster beyond this season. Aside from Damian Lillard’s future, both Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington are due for new contracts. Re-signing or extending both will put the Blazers into the luxury tax with just 8 players on the roster for next season. It seems like Portland will prioritize decisions on their starters before factoring Simons into the equation.