Is Deandre Ayton worth the max?
It has suddenly become a hot topic, as the Phoenix Suns and the 2018 first overall pick have until Oct. 18 to close an extension to his rookie contract. Otherwise, Ayton will be a restricted free agent this summer. According to reports, Ayton is pushing for a maximum deal – which would be five years and $ 172 million based on current cap projections – while the Suns have yet to be willing to commit to that figure.
Ayton’s recent news brings us to a much bigger question, however. Ayton isn’t the only player eligible for a rich set. In fact, because the 2018 Draft was such a busy class, we have 20 players eligible for the expansion, and several of them, in addition to Ayton, are looking at numbers going beyond the mid-level exception.
Of course, the extension business is a very inaccurate science. Teams try to project a young player’s growth curve years in advance – something that they have already proven to struggle with if you look at how often the draft goes. This is not the only variable. On non-max deals, in particular, the team also tries to model the growth rate of the salary cap and the projected position of rival teams in free agency. Even more than an ordinary free agency, there is a lot of imperfect information.
Meanwhile, the player side also has a “fog of war” element. To begin with, the player and his agent make the same calculations on the future salary cap and the future hunt for free agents that the teams do… but do not necessarily arrive at the same figures.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.