Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic is headed to restricted free agency in the summer of 2018, and he could find himself in a less-than-ideal situation when it comes to negotiating his next contract. Sean Deveney of Sporting News analyzed the troubles that the 2014 NBA Draft class will face when it comes to navigating the restricted free agency waters in the offseason.
Only four players from the Class of 2014 received extensions prior to this season, which is a record-low for rookie extensions. Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Gary Harris, and T.J. Warren are the four players that will avoid restricted free agency - with Wiggins being the only player to receive a max deal.
Deveney spoke to an NBA agent that summarized the situation that the remaining players are up against after the 2017-18 season concludes:
That banishes much of that draft class to restricted free agency next summer, or what one agent predicts will be like, “musical chairs in hell.”
The anonymous agent explained the uphill battle that restricted free agents face in the summer:
“If there was one thing I wished had gotten addressed in the last CBA,” one agent said, “it was restricted free agency. Change the rules for matches, or give teams some incentive to sign players rather than making them find another offer that probably won’t come. It’s a very tough spot for players.”
With team’s hesitant to hand out Allen-Crabbe-sized offer sheet deals, last year’s restricted free agent class serves as an example of what is likely to transpire in the summer of 2018. Otto Porter and Tim Hardaway Jr. received handsome contracts, while JaMychal Green and Nerlens Noel were forced to settle for less.
With last offseason’s negotiations in mind, Deveney paints this picture for the next crop of restricted free agents:
Utah’s Rodney Hood could yet take advantage of his increased opportunities. There have been injuries, too, to players like Dante Exum, Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine. There are good role players, like Smart and Jusuf Nurkic, but both went into extension negotiations with an inflated sense of their market value, and may be disappointed when the realities of restricted free agency take hold next summer. There are guys whose value remains a mystery, like Julius Randle and Kyle Anderson.
Along with Nurkic, Noah Vonleh will also be headed to restricted free agency after this season.