Monday’s deadline for first-round picks from the 2017 draft class to sign extensions has passed and a handful of them will enter restricted free agency this summer. We take a look at them and preview what their market might look like.
John Collins (Atlanta)
Qualifying Offer: $5,899,793
John Collins believes he’s a maximum player and has held firm to that belief with no extension agreed to. Collins should be one of the most sought after free agents next offseason now that the talent pool has dwindled down. Many teams could potentially offer him a maximum contract an offer sheet close to it such as the Hornets, Bulls, Mavericks, Heat, Knicks, Thunder, and Spurs. With so many good theoretical fits and cap space out there this offseason, Collins likely would’ve left money on the table if he extended.
Lonzo Ball (New Orleans)
Qualifying Offer: $14,359,936
Ball isn’t an All-Star yet but has proven that he is a very good starter and is a very productive point guard. Any extension he would’ve signed now with the Pelicans probably would’ve been very team-friendly, somewhere in the $15 million-$20 million range as the highest end. A full season of good health and showing the Pelicans just how good his on-court partnership can be should help his value league-wide.
The only cap space team that sticks out as a potential Ball suitor is the New York Knicks. There are other teams like the Bulls, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Heat, Thunder, and Raptors who have cap space but have point guard situations that could stop them from pursuing Ball. If his market is down this summer, he could sign his $14.4 million qualifying offer, which is high in historical standards. That would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Lauri Markkanen (Chicago)
Qualifying Offer: $9,026,756
When healthy, Markkanen has shown stretches of excellence as an offensive player. Injuries have limited him, though, which likely complicated extension negotiations. It would be totally understandable for him to extend now and get long-term security, though it likely would’ve come at a very team-friendly figure. At the same time, this is as good a season for Markkanen to bet on himself. After getting nine months off to recover physically and mentally, he will have the chance to rehabilitate his career. He should have plenty of opportunities to prove himself, and new head coach Billy Donovan should certainly help.
Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn)
Qualifying Offer: $5,661,538
Jarrett Allen is an above-average center that deserves to start in the NBA. With DeAndre Jordan starting and playing the majority of the minutes, an extension for Allen wouldn’t make sense. Even if the Nets overpaid him to be a backup center with the promise of eventually becoming the starter, Allen could probably find a big-minutes opportunity elsewhere. He will have the chance to remind the league just how good he is with the chance of reclaiming the center spot. If he does, he could garner offers at least in the $15 million range annually.
Josh Hart (New Orleans)
Qualifying Offer: $5,236,739
Hart is a jack-of-all-trades type of player. He isn’t particularly elite at one thing, but he can shoot and defend at an above-average level. Any team with cap space, or at least the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, should pursue him. Because of his versatility to both play shooting guard and small forward, as well as start or come off the bench, the Pelicans had the luxury of extending him now and worry about his true fit later. Now he will enter restricted free agency, but both sides will likely discuss a new contract in the offseason.
Malik Monk (Charlotte)
Qualifying Offer: $7,318,223
Monk can be a solid role player in the NBA but he hasn’t done enough to deserve an extension. It’ll be tough for him to stick out in a crowded guard and wing rotation off the bench.
Zach Collins (Portland)
Qualifying Offer: $7,363,319
Collins hasn’t really gotten much of a chance to show what he can do. 2019-20 was supposed to be his opportunity to break out since the Blazers were so thin with big men. Every time he was about to get going, he suffered a major injury. Now the Blazers have a crowded big man rotation and he’s not guaranteed minutes every night. He could be a prime candidate to accept his qualifying offer next offseason.
Terrance Ferguson (Philadelphia)
Qualifying Offer: $5,683,323
Ferguson had a nice role on the Thunder two years ago as their starting shooting guard. He provided three-point shooting in a starting lineup whose only other good three-point shooter was Paul George. Still, he hasn’t done enough to really know how much he’s worth in an extension. It makes more sense that he enters restricted free agency.
Frank Ntilikina (New York)
Qualifying Offer: $8,326,027
Ntilikina has the tools to be a great defender but he has lacked much to be desired. He should have plenty of suitors from other teams looking to take a shot on him.
Justin Jackson (Oklahoma City)
Qualifying Offer: $7,031,451
An extension for Jackson in Oklahoma City didn’t make sense now given how fluid their roster is. He should use his time in Oklahoma City to boost his stock ahead of free agency.
Tony Bradley (Philadelphia)
Qualifying Offer: $5,277,669
Bradley can be solid backup center in the NBA but there’s no reason for the Sixers to extend him right now. He should focus on becoming the Sixers’ primary backup center.
Dennis Smith Jr. (New York)
Qualifying Offer: $7,705,447
Smith Jr. couldn’t have had a better opportunity for minutes than his time with New York. He might not even be the third point guard in the Knicks rotation, suggesting his time in the league could be done soon.
DJ Wilson (Milwaukee)
Qualifying Offer: $6,422,174
Unless Wilson cracks the rotation this year, the Bucks probably won’t tender him a qualifying offer.