The deadline for NBA teams to extend players selected in the 2008 draft expired at midnight ET on Thursday, leaving only five players who agreed to terms on a new deal before the buzzer: Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook (who signed max deals long before Thursday), and Kosta Koufos, Kevin Love, Danilo Gallinari (who finalized their new contracts on Wednesday).
That means players like Nicolas Batum, Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert, to name a few, head into this summer's pool of restricted free agents.
Who made the right moves? Who didn't? Out team gives their takes:
1. Too much, too little or just right: Kevin Love (four years, $60-$62M).
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Too little. Love has expressed genuine excitement about the future of the Timberwolves. This is after several years of sitting on the bench on some of the worst teams of the past decade. Fully committing to your best player seems like an obvious decision for small-market teams. Though I suppose it's never that simple in Minnesota.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Too little. Love was pushing for a full max deal, but when he couldn't get it, he grabbed the next most valuable thing -- an opt out after the third year. Why? Love is still not sold on the direction of the Wolves. He could've been sold for a full max deal, but if he was going to take less money, he wanted the flexibility to get out in a few years. Why the Wolves preferred that scenario to a five-year max deal is beyond me. Love was worth it.
Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game: Love could certainly command more money, but this deal is just right for the Wolves ... so long as Love wasn't unnerved by the negotiating process. There's big incentive for teams not to tick off their best players during contract negotiations, but the aim of a rebuilding franchise is to acquire (or retain) talent while maintaining financial flexibility. If Love is peeved, the joke is on Minny. If not, then the Wolves saved some cash for a later move.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Just right. Kevin Love is a solid passer and a double-double machine with 3-point range. Indeed, his production has led many to argue that he is the best power forward in the game. It was never really a question on whether he would get a huge contract, just when he would sign it.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Too little. Love is an incredibly gifted basketball player, but I've never bought into the idea of him as a max player. In this respect, the money in this deal works. It's the length of the contract that bothers me. Love has earned as many guaranteed years as the CBA allows.
2. Too much, too little or just right: Danilo Gallinari (four years, $42M).
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Just right. Gallinari surely could have seen inflated figures from potential suitors in the coming offseason considering how dynamic of an offensive player he's proven to be. The Nuggets have shown a lot of promise. GM Masai Ujiri is doing a great job establishing the team's foundation by locking up their talent early.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Too much ... by a little. I really like Gallo, but my philosophy on extensions is that you get a discount from a player or you wait them out in the summer. The only exceptions are for true greatness -- like Derrick Rose -- or in a situation like Kevin Love's (see above). I think Gallo will be a very good player, but I don't believe a team would've given him a larger qualifying offer this summer. Obviously the Nuggets disagreed. With that said, they didn't wildly overpay him. But I was thinking more like four years, $35 million.
Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game: Just right, I suppose. Gallinari is essential to the Nuggets' offensive balance and defensive versatility, but the two parties struck a deal that seems very reasonable for both sides. Gallo's market value would be hard to define, but it was certainly prudent for the Nuggets to maintain control of his contract terms by avoiding restricted free agency.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Just right. Although the comparison isn't entirely on point, I see Gallo as a player similar to Danny Granger in terms of production. The Pacers' forward is slated to make about the same amount as Gallinari in the next two seasons and thus it's fair to say that given escalating salaries that the Nuggets negotiated a very good contract.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Just right. Credit George Karl for getting the most out of Gallinari. But the most of Gallinari translates into an exceptionally good complementary player. Gallo is a fine player, but the Nuggets were smart not to overpay for his services.
3. Which eligible player that didn't get extended should have?
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Ryan Anderson, who unfortunately is a victim of the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard. However, Anderson has proven to be the perfect complementary frontcourt partner for Howard this season. If keeping Dwight is still an option, the team has to keep its best pieces. Yet somehow, Jason Richardson and Glen Davis are long-term certainties and Anderson isn't.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: Eric Gordon. The Hornets traded away a franchise player to get him. It's well known that he'd love to return to Indiana next summer and the Pacers have the money to pay him. Yes, the Hornets still have his restricted free agent rights and can match any offer. But I thought the Hornets would have and should have sealed the deal.
Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game: Eric Gordon. Teams building from the ground up need to preserve as much cap space as possible, and the Hornets blew a valuable opportunity to retain Gordon at a discount. They should still be able to keep him in New Orleans, but the Hornets are now at the mercy of the open market, and what's sure to be a lofty offer sheet from one of Gordon's suitors.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Nicolas Batum probably could have been extended at a modest figure by Portland, but now some team will probably swoop in during the summer and overpay for his services. He is a starting-caliber small forward who happens to come off the bench for a deep Blazers team that probably will still want to hold onto him.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Eric Gordon. By this time next year, Gordon could be one of the best five shooting guards in basketball. Keeping payroll low must be a matter of religion for the Hornets. New Orleans is playing easy to get, but they're more concerned about attracting a new ownership group than a new All-Star.
4. Which player that didn't extend is most likely to leave this summer?
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: O.J. Mayo. He's finally playing well off the bench, which surely has wing-starved teams salivating at the thought of his production with increased minutes. A year ago, we were wondering if all potential had disappeared. Mayo's resurgence is fantastic for the injury-plagued Grizzlies this season, but it could be his ticket out of Memphis in the offseason.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: O.J. Mayo. The Grizzlies have flirted with trading him twice, can't afford to pay him next summer and he believes he'd be a much better player in a different environment. Can't see him sticking around Memphis.
Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game: O.J. Mayo. Mayo has lived on the trading block over the past few seasons, and this summer should finally mark the end of his stay in Memphis. Considering how many times the Griz have tried to trade Mayo away, I'm going to guess that they'd opt not to pay more just to keep him around.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Eric Gordon's name keeps popping up in rumors involving the Indiana Pacers and it almost makes too much sense. Indiana will have the required cap room to overpay for the services of the former Hoosier and bring him home to play with an up-and-coming team in serious need of some scoring.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Nico Batum. His negotiations with the Blazers went sour early, and one wonders if Batum's relationship with the team isn't permanently damaged. Batum's agent is already warning that his client will make himself available to anyone other than the Blazers this offseason.
5. What was the best move before the extension deadline?
Danny Chau, Hardwood Paroxysm: Oh, this one's easy.
David Kahn didn't extend Michael Beasley or Anthony Randolph. A remarkable decision, really.
Chad Ford, ESPN.com: David Kahn resisting the urge to give a fortune to either Michael Beasley or Anthony Randolph. Given his track record with Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic ... you know he was tempted.
Rob Mahoney, The Two-Man Game: Russell Westbrook's five-year, $80 million extension.
Sam Presti made it crystal clear that the Thunder consider Westbrook a star and a cornerstone as he locked up Oklahoma City's core for the foreseeable future. The money is easily justifiable for a player of Westbrook's talent and production, and this move had the added benefit of altering the NBA narrative; the annoying (and exaggerated) Westbrook vs. Durant subplot seemed to disappear overnight, as this extension quelled any lingering doubt over Westbrook's future.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Not extending Brook Lopez's contract. If the Nets still think they can bring in Dwight Howard this season or during the summer, it's important that they do not commit to anything long term. Long contracts and big salaries have proven difficult to move over the years.
Timothy Varner, 48 Minutes of Hell: Sometimes the obvious choice is the right one. Kevin Love is a nightly double-double, and, occasionally, he's a monster double-double. Couple his production with his professionalism, and it's obvious the Wolves got a good deal.