Players from the 2016 Draft class were up for rookie extensions. Not signing them would mean the players would become restricted free agents next summer. You’ll see something relatively new in the NBA coming up – incentive-based contracts. While common in the NFL, NBA players always had a fully guaranteed contract. This is slowly changing, and some of the players on this list have significant variance in their contracts. Let’s check out who got paid.
Jaylen Brown, 4-years – $115 million
The Celtics decided that it was cheaper to sign Jaylen Brown than wait for him to get to restricted free agency. This is the first rookie extension Danny Ainge has given out in a decade. One of the reasons is with Beal signing his contract, the 2020 free agency class will be extremely weak, and the likelihood of Brown getting a max deal with a few poison pills was high. Assuming Jayson Tatum re-signs next offseason as planned, Boston will have Brown, Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart signed for at least three more years in total.
Dejounte Murray, 4 years – $64 million
Before the ’18/’19 season, something weird was happening with the San Antonio Spurs. They were publicly praising a player during training camp. If you know anything about the Spurs, you know that’s a very rare occurrence. The player in question was Dejounte Murray. Murray missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in the preseason against the Rockets. Still, the Spurs remain confident that Murray is their point guard of the future and handed out a fully guaranteed contract that will keep him with the team through the ’23/’24 season.
Buddy Hield, 4 years – $80 million
After publicly criticizing the team for not extending his contract and showing up Vlade Divac in the preseason, Buddy Hield got what he wanted. This is where the incentive structure starts to kick in. Hield is guaranteed 86 million but could go up to 106 million, depends on him reaching specific benchmarks. We are yet to find out how realistic these thresholds are.
Domantas Sabonis, 4 years – $79.4 million
The Pacers were actively looking for a trade partner but couldn’t get satisfactory offers for Sabonis. Signing him is a rational move to protect the asset, but the fact still remains his fit with Myles Turner is not optimal, and it is now apparent who of the two players is the odd man out. With drafting Goga Bitadze, the Pacers prepared to move on from Sabonis and will probably pick up any call about his availability.