By David Aldridge, TNT analyst
Posted Oct 30 2009 3:11AM
The NBA has extended the deadline for teams seeking to sign their fourth-year players from the draft class of 2006 to contract extensions to next Monday, Nov. 2, instead of the previous deadline of Oct. 31. The move was made because the 31st falls on a Saturday instead of a business day. However, the extra time may not matter for the handful of players still looking for new deals.
Of the 30 first-round picks from 2006 that are eligible for new contracts, only four -- Toronto's Andrea Bargnani (the top overall pick in 2006), Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (second overall) and Brandon Roy (sixth), and Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (13th) -- have been signed by their current teams, with high-profile picks like Chicago's Tyrus Thomas (second overall), Washington guard Randy Foye (seventh), Memphis forward Rudy Gay (eighth) and Utah guard Ronnie Brewer (14th) unable to make much headway toward a deal. (Sefolosha signed a four-year, $15 million extension on Wednesday.)
The most notable 2006 player yet to be extended, Boston guard Rajon Rondo, is hoping for an 11th-hour deal with the Celtics, with discussions between the team and his agent, Bill Duffy, continuing. Duffy said via text Wednesday that the talks were in "limbo." Though talks will continue into the weekend, sources indicated there wasn't much hope that deals for Thomas, Foye or Gay would happen by next Monday.
Players who don't sign the extensions by Monday will become restricted free agents next summer, though their current teams would have the right to match any offer from another team to retain them.
Other top 10 drafted players from 2006 like Lakers forward Adam Morrison (third overall), Celtics forward Shelden Williams (fifth) and Raptors center Patrick O'Bryant (ninth) won't be getting new deals. Center Saer Sene, the 10th overall pick taken by Seattle, is out of the NBA and playing professionally in France. By contrast, seven players from the 2005 class got extensions -- Andrew Bogut, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Andrew Bynum, Danny Granger, Francisco Garcia and Jason Maxiell.
Atlanta's Marvin Williams, the second pick in 2005, got a new deal this summer from the Hawks as a restricted free agent, and forward Charlie Villanueva, taken seventh by Toronto in 2005, signed with Detroit in the offseason after his former team, the Bucks, declined to pick up his option, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Though several teams have exceeded the luxury tax this season, many more teams are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Making future commitments to players considered good, but not great, is not a realistic business decision for most teams.
"I don't know if the reality of the economy has sunk in with the agents," said one front office executive. "One is the economy; two is we don't know what's going to be in the next CBA (collective bargaining agreement)."
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