Celtics

Ayton, Suns fail to agree on NBA contract extension

Celtics

The 2020-21 NBA season might have been Giannis Antetokumpo’s year, but it also served as a showcase for the 2018 draft class.

Before the new season begins on Tuesday, over a billion dollars has already been spent on talent drafted in 2018 for the 2021-22 season and beyond.

2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton reportedly couldn't come to an agreement with the Phoenix Suns on his rookie extension. Ayton also emerged as a dominant force in the postseason, helping the Phoenix reach their first NBA Finals in 28 years. 

Other players from the 2018 class like Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Michael Porter Jr each received rookie max extensions after helping lead their teams to the playoffs last season.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Boston Celtics big man Robert Williams also received extensions. 

Here’s a breakdown of the players that got new deals ahead of the deadline:

 

Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic emerged as one of the NBA’s best players from his rookie year. He’s made an All-NBA team in two of his first three seasons and as a result, signed the largest rookie contract extension in the NBA. Doncic currently has a five-year, $207 million extension, with a player option in 2026-27.

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young inked a five-year, $172.5 million extension with a player option in 2026-27. Young has the potential to earn a deal similar to Doncic’s if he makes an All-NBA team in 2022. 

Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets

Michael Porter Jr. agreed to a five-year, $172 million max extension with a potential to earn up to $207 million if he makes an All-NBA team this season.

After a back injury caused Porter to slide to Denver in the draft, Porter missed his entire rookie season rehabbing.  Since then, he’s shown all the potential that made him regarded as one of the best prospects in this class as a dominant scoring option on the Nuggets alongside Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander received a  five-year, $172.5 million extension in the offseason. He’s shown the potential to be an All-Star-caliber player on the Thunder but needs a healthy season this year to prove it.

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr. reportedly agreed to a four-year, $105 million extension with the Grizzlies. When healthy, Jackson has been really good, He’s been a solid defender and a top-tier shooter over his three seasons. 

Mikal Bridges, Phoenix Suns

The Suns decided to lock up their second first-round pick of the 2018 NBA draft first. Phoenix signed Bridges to a four-year, $90 million contract extension a day before the deadline. Bridges proved he can be a quality defender for the Suns and steadily developed his shot faster than anyone expected. 

Robert Williams III, Boston Celtics

Robert Williams agreed to a four-year, $54 million contract extension with the Celtics . Williams’ role in Boston has expanded each of his first three seasons and he’s shown flashes of ability to become an impact player on both ends of the court. The deal puts him among the top annual salaries of centers in the NBA.

 

Wendell Carter Jr., Orlando Magic

Wendell Carter Jr. signed a four-year, $50 million extension with the Orlando Magic. The Chicago Bulls traded Carter to Orlando for Nikola Vucevic at the 2021 trade deadline. Carter has played well in the 22 games he started for the Magic last season