Only five NBA players signed extensions before yesterday’s deadline to re-sign 2007 first-round draft picks, a record low. Teams were hesitant to commit to long-term deals because of a possible lockout next year that could reshape the economic structure of the league. Al Horford signed a five-year, $60 million deal, Mike Conley signed for five-years, $45 million, and Jared Dudley signed for four-years, $17 million to join Joakim Noah and Kevin Durant as the only first-rounders that will avoid an uncertain fate at the end of the season.
The players that weren’t extended will have the option of playing on a qualifying offer next season (should they receive it) or accepting restricted free agency where they’d be free to negotiate with their teams again. Neither options guarantees job security or the substantial payday that all first-rounders hope to achieve with their second pro contract.
Several notable players were not extended including Jeff Green, Greg Oden, Rodney Stuckey, Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo.
In other contract news, Spurs veteran Tony Parker also signed a four-year, $50 million extension yesterday and the Minnesota Timberwolves exercised their team options to retain Jonny Flynn, Kevin Love, and Michael Beasley for next season.
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