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Sunday, October 31, 2010
Horford, Hawks “still talking” extension

By Marc Stein

With Monday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline for contract extensions for 2007 first-round picks almost here, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Chicago's Joakim Noah remain the only two players who have actually landed new deals.

The list of Class of '07 alumni whose agents still have some hope of completing a deal before the buzzer isn't much longer, either.

Atlanta's Al Horford continues to be the most likely extension recipient out there after his All-Star breakthrough last season. One source close to the negotiations told ESPN.com on Sunday that the parties "are still talking" and says a deal -- rated as "probable" by another source last week -- is a "50-50" shot at this point.

If a deal does go through, according to one informed estimate, Horford would likely receive a five-year deal “just slightly north of Noah’s” in the $65 million range. Noah signed a five-year extension with the Bulls worth $60 million plus incentives.

Who else is still talking?

Sources say Phoenix and Jared Dudley's camp continue to have regular dialogue, but no deal is close.

Wilson Chandler's prospects for a deal with the Knicks are harder to read, but this much we know for sure: Time is running out.

The deadline for extensions for 2007 first-rounders is a day later than usual -- pushed to Nov. 1 because Halloween fell on a Sunday this year as opposed to a business day -- but it appears that a new record low for extensions is unavoidable.

The six first-rounders from the 2006 NBA Draft who scored contract extensions before the Halloween deadline last October tied the previous low in the modern rookie scale era. Yet there's no mystery why extensions have been even harder to come by this fall.

Extensions used to be a formality in many cases -- especially for lottery picks. But teams are clearly reluctant to hand out deals without knowing more specifics about the NBA's new financial landscape to be hatched in next collective bargaining agreement.

The lukewarm overall regard for many of the players taken in the Durant Draft is another deterrant.

Class of ’07 draftees who don't get an extension by Monday are headed for restricted free agency in the summer of 2011 ... assuming there is a summer of 2011 for free agents and that restricted free agency still exists in the next labor deal.