The Denver Nuggets front office hopes to sign their 2014 first-round pick Gary Harris to a rookie scale extension, according to reports.
In his article about the team re-signing Mason Plumlee, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned that Denver will next work to sign the 23-year-old guard to a rookie contract extension.
Kevin O’Connor wrote about why the Nuggets will want to sign Harris to a rookie scale extension before the deadline on October 16 (via The Ringer):
“Harris is imperfect, but he has foundational skills that’ll lead to a long career. That is precisely why I’d be pushing for a deal now if I were Denver. If Harris builds on his progress from last season, in the form of an improved handle or a sustained shooting percentage, then it’s conceivable that a team could throw a max offer sheet his way.”
While it would be surprising to see him sign a max deal before he has made an All-Star team, it’s happened before. In this case, it does not seem possible after signing Plumlee – considering they’ll need to re-sign Nikola Jokic as well as Jamal Murray.
Harris, however, is a two-way player who has improved each season of his career thus far. Even if it doesn’t take a max contract to retain him, it won’t be cheap.
He is projected to earn north of $20 million per season if he becomes a restricted free agent. The team could have around $1.6 million in cap next offseason. If both Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur decline their player options, the team would have the money to afford a big payday for Harris.
It would not be surprising if he signs a deal in the next week before camp begins, considering they have shown an extreme interest in continuity as an organization.