NBA deadlines extended indefinitely

Updated: November 2, 2011, 10:43 AM ET
By Brian Windhorst | ESPN.com

Normally, Oct. 31 is a day of significance on the NBA calendar. Contractually, it is the day when teams must make what often prove to be weighty decisions on former first-round draft picks.

By rule, for example, midnight would've been the deadline for the Chicago Bulls to sign Derrick Rose to a contract extension or for the Houston Rockets to decide whether to pick up the $6.4 million option in Hasheem Thabeet's deal for the potential 2012-13 season.

According to several NBA general managers, however, that is not the case this year. With the lockout in place, the option and extension deadlines have been pushed back indefinitely. The assumption by those GMs is that teams will be given a grace period in the new collective bargaining agreement, when it is in place, to make those decisions.

"We were given memos in June that said everything would be frozen when the lockout started," a Western Conference GM said. "We're assuming that when we get a new deal we'll have a certain amount of time to make those decisions. But for now we can't."

Obviously teams wouldn't be talking about contract extensions for players on rookie deals right now without knowing the future salary-cap rules. Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez and Eric Gordon are the most notable of the 2008 draft picks who were eligible to have their contracts extended before Nov. 1.

It seems likely that players from the 2009 first round will be negotiating extensions right along with free agents when the lockout lifts. Normally there's some drama every late October when teams try to get deals done with players going into their fourth and final seasons on their rookie scale contracts.

Last year Al Horford signed a $60 million extension with the Atlanta Hawks and Mike Conley got a $40 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct 31.

The more interesting issue was whether the option deadline would be moved. Teams have until Oct. 31 to pick up the fourth year on contracts that first-round picks signed in 2009 and third-year options for 2010 first-round picks. Several teams, just to make sure, picked up the options on some of their young players before the lockout came down. For example, the Clippers exercised Blake Griffin's option and the Bulls picked up Taj Gibson's for the 2012-13 season in June.

"We were advised to handle all of our business we wanted to be sure of before July 1," an Eastern Conference GM said. "Some of those decisions were easy, some weren't and some we needed more time on. We believe we're going to get that time."

There are always players where the decision isn't easy and teams want to judge after training camp, often right up to the Halloween deadline.

The Rockets were perhaps going to have the most interesting choices of any team had the Oct. 31 deadline been in place. Though various trades, the Rockets have acquired four players drafted in the first round in 2009 for which they must make decisions. Houston has options for '12-13 on Thabeet, Jonny Flynn and Terrence Williams totaling more than $17 million for next year that they were going to have to make by today. Those calls, like everything else, are now postponed.

Brian Windhorst reports on the NBA for ESPN.com.

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