Top 15 NBA Players Who Deserve A Contract Extension
Top 15 NBA Players Who Should Be Given A Contract Extension
Does Andrew Bynum deserve a contract extension after this year? What about Dwight Howard? What about players like Nikola Pekovic, who are key role players but not household names?
The NBA is filled with players who have the talent and ability to put up big numbers on different nights, but not all of them are players that teams can build around. One of the biggest challenges that owners and general managers face is deciding which players to offer contract extensions to in order to keep them, and which players they should let test the waters in free agency.
Once again this week, no NBA owners called me about taking over as the general manager for their teams (is my phone not working?), but I already have a list of players ready to go for contract extensions. In order to put together this list, I looked at players whose contracts are up after this season, as well as those who have one or even two more years left on their deals.
Feel free to disagree with any of my choices, just know that you will be wrong.
Before I get started, too, I’ve got to say that right now I don’t think Bynum is deserving of a contract extension. Just about two weeks ago, I was one of the people calling for the Philadelphia 76ers to offer Bynum a new deal in order to lock him up for the next few seasons. I love Bynum’s size and ability, and I know that he can be a star and franchise player if he is healthy.
After he hurt himself bowling, though, and after hearing plenty of rumors about Bynum’s health issues and attitude, I don’t think Philadelphia should offer him an extension at this time. If Bynum can get healthy and contribute this season, and if he can show management that he is responsible enough to handle a big contract, then I think the 76ers should try to lock him up. They need to wait a few months to figure this out, though, so Bynum is not on this list.
Here are the current Top 15 Players to Offer Contract Extensions To:
15. First of all, I should say that I am a Ricky Rubio fan. I have bought in completely. He’s only played one NBA season, and in that year he only played in 41 games due to the lockout and an injury that is still keeping him out this season, but he is a star. Also, his contract isn’t even up until 2015, but the 6-4 point guard from Spain is an exciting player and he is a winner. Last year, Rubio scored 10.6 points per game, while also passing out 8.2 assists and pulling down 4.2 rebounds per night. His coaches have also praised Rubio for his defense. Fans love him, and the Minnesota Timberwolves should lock him up as soon as possible for as long as possible.
14. Charlotte Bobcats center Byron Mullens doesn’t get much attention nationally, but he’s turned into a pretty good player. The 7 footer has started all 14 games for the resurgent Bobcats this season, and is currently scoring 13.1 points a night while also pulling down 8.4 rebounds per night. I’m not as big of a fan of Mullen’s three-point shooting as he is, but he is an athletic big man who can score inside and outside, and he is only going to get better. The Bobcats should try to lock him up and keep him happy.
13. Thabo Sefolosha doesn’t get much attention surrounded by stars on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he is a key part of his team’s success. The 6-7 guard is only a 5.4 points a night scorer for his career, and sometimes he is not even in the games late in the fourth quarter. But Sefolosha is a great defender and a solid shooter. He helps to stretch the floor on offense with his 44 percent career shooting from the three-point line, and he has the ability to shut down the opposing team’s best scorer. If the Thunder can afford him after paying all of their other stars, they should try to lock him up. He is a great team player who definitely deserves a contract extension.
12. The Sacramento Kings need to sign Isaiah Thomas to a new contract. The 5-9 point guard has proven that he can run the offense and score, and he is a player that fans will come out to watch. The Kings need all the fans they can get, and Thomas is an exciting player who is also pretty good. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.1 assists per game last season. He is starting off a little more slowly this year, but he should have another good year and is someone that fans will want to watch for years. As the 60th draft pick in the 2011 NBA draft, Thomas has already proven the doubters wrong and he definitely deserves a contract extension.
11. The San Antonio Spurs have an older team, but they need to try to keep veteran Manu Ginobili around for a few more years. Ginobili has been a key part of the Spurs championship teams, and at times is the best player on the floor. He is a great shooter, he can get to the rim when he needs to and he is an exciting player. He also works hard and does all of the little things needed to be great on the floor. To put it simply, Ginobili is a winner. He’s been in the NBA for 10 years now and is getting older, but he should have several more good years left in the league. I love watching Ginobili play, and Spurs need to keep this star in San Antonio.
10. The Minnesota Timberwolves have a great role player in Nikola Pekovic, and they need to keep him around for a while. At 6-11, 290, Pekovic can be a beast inside on offense and defense. He has turned into a solid all-around player who is currently scoring 14.9 point per game and shooting 49 percent from the field. He is also averaging 6.9 rebounds per game and fits in well with the young nucleus for the Timberwolves.
9. The Sacramento Kings have a tough decision to make with Tyreke Evans. The 6-6 guard is a career 18 points per game scorer who is averaging 14.9 points per game so far this year. Now in his fourth season, Evans has proven he can score (although he needs to improve his three-point shooting) and he could be a key part of rebuilding the Kings. The problem is that the Kings have not won much during Evans’ time in Sacramento, and management has to decide if he has been part of the problem or if he can be part of the solution. I believe he can be part of the solution, and he can be a star if he gets better players around him. The Kings need to lock him up.
8. The New York Knicks need to try to keep guard J.R. Smith around for a few years. The 6-6 guard has moved around a few times in his career, but he looks like he has found a home in New York. Smith is a dynamic player, and he has the attitude and demeanor that should allow him to fit in perfectly in Madison Square Garden. This season he is scoring 13.8 points per game coming off of the bench, and he has played a big part in helping the Knicks get off to a great start. The Knicks have put together a solid team, and they need to keep Smith as part of the team for several years to come. He has helped the Knicks improve and he deserves a contract extension.
7. The Cleveland Cavaliers need to do whatever they can to keep Kyrie Irving around for a long time. He is only in his second NBA season, but last year’s Rookie of the Year is a star. He is currently scoring 22.9 points and passing out 5.6 assists per game. He wants the ball late in games and consistently knocks down big shots for the Cavs. He deserves a contract extension and is a player who will help the Cavs become winners again.
6. The Denver Nuggets traded for guard/forward Andre Iguodala in the off-season, and they should try to sign him long-term. Iguodala is a career 15.3 points per game scorer who is solid in all parts of his game. He can shoot, rebound, defend and pass, and he should fit in well with the Nuggets style of play. His veteran leadership will also be key for a Nuggets team with a lot of young players, and the Nuggets need to keep him in Denver for the long term. He deserves to be paid well in any contract extension.
5. If you want to see how valuable Danny Granger is to the Indiana Pacers, just look at how the team has struggled so far this season while he has been sidelines with injuries. The 6-8 forward is a career 13.5 points per game scorer, and he is also good defender and team player. He is the biggest star the Pacers have, and he deserves a contract extension for everything he has done in Indiana. If the Pacers want to keep improving and try to become championship contenders, they will do everything they can to lock Granger up for the long term.
4. Carmelo Anthony chose to play for the New York Knicks, and he is locked up until the 2015-2016 season. Last season, Anthony looked suspect at times, but this year he looks great and is playing like he deserves a contract extension already. If the Knicks lock up Anthony this year, they will show a commitment to winning and consistency, and they will be able to attract other top players who will want to play with Anthony for the long term. A career 24.7 points per game scorer, Anthony can score inside and outside, and he has proven that he can make big shots late in the game. He is improving as a defender, and is a player who should be a Knick for a long time.
3. I know that Kobe Bryant said he may retire in two years, but I don’t believe him. He is too competitive to retire anytime soon, and he knows that he can be a great player for several more years. If he has good players around him and has a chance to win a sixth or seventh championship, I’m betting that Bryant will want to play for the Los Angeles Lakers for a few more years so that he can win more championships than a certain former player for the Chicago Bulls. Bryant has done it all for the Lakers and he deserves just about whatever he wants from Los Angeles. He definitely deserves a contract extension and the Lakers need to offer him one soon and show him they want him to be a Laker for several more years.
2. Dwight Howard handled his contract situation terribly when he was with the Orlando Magic, but hopefully he will be open to signing a long-term deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers obviously want to build around the 6-11 center, and he should be a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come. Howard is a great defender and rebounder who helps the rest of his team play better. He is also a career 18.4 points per game scorer and before his whole contract mess in Orlando he was a lovable star. He has an engaging personality and will win back NBA fans over time with his play and his attitude. He deserves a huge contract offer from the Lakers.
1. Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers is the top player who deserves a contract extension. The Clippers added a lot of talent last season, but Paul is the main reason the team suddenly became contenders. Paul is a great scorer and passer, and he does a lot to make his entire team better. Whether he is driving to the rim for lay-ups, knocking down jumpers, threading the needle on passes or throwing lob passes for dunks, Paul is an exciting player and a crowd favorite. If the Clippers keep the core of this team together, Paul can lead them to an NBA championship in a few years. The Clippers need to offer Paul whatever they can and do whatever is needed to keep him with the Clippers next year and for many years to come.