The deadline for teams to sign players from the first round of the 2015 draft to extensions passed at 6 p.m. ET on Monday. In the end, only five players wound up locking in future money before the 2018-19 season; the rest will play out the last year on their rookie deals and enter restricted free agency this summer. Whichever way each team decided to play it, their decisions will ripple into this season and beyond. Here’s a rundown of the most intriguing deals and no deals of this year’s class:
Karl-Anthony Towns: Deal
Three days after Jimmy Butler requested a trade from Minnesota, it was reported that Towns would sign a five-year, $190 supermax extension. Regardless of what happens with Butler (for now, it appears he’s sticking around), the 7-footer is now the future of a franchise that finally ended its 14-year playoff drought last season.
Towns will be entrusted to continue that success, and though he’s struggled to maintain consistency on the defensive end, he’s only 22 and has already flashed the talent to take on the role as Minnesota’s centerpiece. The Wolves, meanwhile, have seen what it looks like when a deal like this doesn’t work; Minnesota gave Andrew Wiggins a five-year, $147.7 million extension last year and he proceeded to regress in both points production and efficiency. The Wolves were always going to double down on Towns as their cornerstone, even if Butler has thrown a wrench into the current iteration of this team. Now, Towns needs to do what Wiggins hasn’t been able to: make a leap from being a talented player on the rise to a reliable two-way superstar.
Devin Booker: Deal
Before GM Ryan McDonough got fired by Phoenix just days prior to the start of the season, he signed Booker to a five-year, $158 million extension in July, effectively making Booker the face of the Suns. Under new coach Igor Kokoskov, it seems that the goal is to turn Booker into a Harden-esque shooting guard who runs the entire offense.
In similar fashion to how the Wolves have approached Towns, the Suns have seen enough flashes from Booker to literally bank on him moving forward. There was no question about whether Phoenix should have done this or not, but there are plenty of questions about whether Booker will be able to live up to this contract, especially with the added pressure of being the lynchpin for everything the Suns do on offense.
The Would-Be No-Brainer
Kristaps Porzingis: No Deal
Early Monday morning, it was reported that the Knicks and Porzingis were not going to come to an agreement on an extension before the deadline. This is a notable development for the Knicks’ future. Delaying the extension gives the franchise an extra $10 million in cap space next summer, which puts them well on their way to having enough to offer a max contract (cough, Kevin Durant, cough). Porzingis is still recovering from the ACL surgery he had in February, but this result may embolden him to try and play as soon as possible this season in order to remind the Knicks he’s worth that max contract. Then again, even with the injury, Porzingis has already shown he’s capable of being a star; if he can make a full recovery, the money will come.
The Intriguing Bets
Myles Turner: Deal
Hours before the deadline, Pacers and Myles Turner reportedly came to terms on a four-year, $72 million extension with bonuses that could raise it to $80 million. The deal makes sense for both sides. It keeps Turner as part of Indy’s young and talented core without having to give him the max, and it gives Turner a chance to re-enter the free agent market at 26. In three seasons, Turner has been good but not quite great. Last season, his scoring and rebounding averages dropped from the numbers he put up in his second season. His fit along third-year big man Domantas Sabonis will be of intrigue, as will how he continues to mesh with Victor Oladipo. If this summer’s #musclewatch is any indication, though, Turner is primed for a breakout season.
5 weeks down, still gotta lot of work to do! #Summer18 pic.twitter.com/CWFM5gPue0— Myles Turner (@Original_Turner) June 18, 2018
Justise Winslow: Deal
Winslow is the extension recipient who has shown the least amount of production thus far. The former 10th-overall selection will reportedly sign a three-year, $39 million deal, which is significantly less than what his peers earned. However, the contract is still a good chunk of change for a player who has missed over 80 games in three seasons due to injuries and was rumored to possibly be a part of the Heat’s attempts to trade for Jimmy Butler. Winslow improved this past season, especially in raising his 3-point percentage by 18 percent. But to live up to his draft spot, and now this new contract, he’ll need to do a whole lot more on the offensive end while continuing to lean into his defensive strengths.
Larry Nance Jr.: Deal
Nance and the Cavaliers reportedly reached an agreement on a four-year, $45 million extension an hour before Monday’s deadline. Cleveland got Nance and Jordan Clarkson in the deadline trade that sent Isaiah Thomas to the Lakers, and it appears they believe the bouncy big man can be a part of their core going forward. The Cavs are stuck between the team that LeBron had (Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson) and the team they’ll likely have in the future (Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman). Though Nance may not have a high ceiling, he is useful in either context.
Terry Rozier: No Deal
In the wake of Kyrie Irving’s injury, Rozier put together a breakout season that inevitably raised his trade value. Boston didn’t cash in on Rozier, choosing instead to keep him around for at least this season. (According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, the Suns tried to trade for Rozier, but were rebuffed.) They won’t extend him, either; The Boston Globe reported that the former no. 16 overall pick is “determined to become a starting point guard” and will “seek the minutes and money of a starter.” Which makes Rozier’s role this season pretty interesting. Starting minutes were already going to be near impossible as long as Irving was healthy. With Gordon Hayward back and capable of taking on some ball-handling minutes, even steady playing time off the bench could be more limited this season. Good thing Rozier has already proved he can be a starter. The 24-year-old’s best route to a starting role may be through unforeseen situations and injuries—whether they be in Boston or elsewhere.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Delon Wright: No Deals
Neither Oubre nor Wright were extended by the deadline, and both are set to become restricted free agents this summer. Oubre is in a position similar to what teammate Otto Porter Jr. was in in 2016. The Wizards didn’t extend Porter, either, but he had a breakout year and got paid the next summer thanks to a $104 million offer sheet from the Nets.
Wright, meanwhile, has flown under the radar, but was a key contributor the Raptors’ bench mob last season. But with Toronto’s future up in the air until Kawhi Leonard hits free agency, it make sense to maintain some flexibility and hold off on making a decision on the 26-year-old guard.
Bobby Portis: No Deal
Extension talks between the Bulls and Portis “intensified” in the last few days, according to Wojnarowski, but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement on an extension. Portis, who will now become a restricted free agent this summer, is behind Lauri Markkanen on the Bulls’ depth chart but could get more minutes to start the year because Markkanen is set to miss six to eight weeks with a right elbow injury. Portis needs another big season to get the contract he likely wants, and though his minutes and scoring increased last season on a tanking team, it will be interesting to see whether he continues to grow.