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The Countdown Is On

http://www.depressedfan.com/img/ThadYoung090110.jpg
By November 1st, a mere 63 days from now, Rod Thorn will have to make the first in a series of decisions on the young core of his team. The day after Halloween is the deadline for extension of players with three years in the league, still on their first-round rookie contracts. Jason Smith, Spencer Hawes and Thaddeus Young all meet the criteria.

I'm not worried about Hawes and Smith. They haven't even had Hawes on the roster for one game yet, and his red flags should preclude any foolish investments at this point. The same goes for Jason Smith, who's destined to be a minimum-contract guy, at best, for the remainder of his career.

If anyone has even an outside shot at getting an early extension, it's Thad. Personally, I think the odds are extremely slim. The third-year extension is typically saved for guys who are considered surefire stars in the league by their teams (Chris Paul, Kevin Durant for example. Deng and LaMarcus Aldridge would be examples of guys who got the third-year extension and perhaps the team wishes they waited the extra year). Still, there is a precedent, so I thought we'd take a look at some comparable players to Thad through their first three seasons in the league, and the length/value of the extensions they were given.

Here are three comps for Thad. (click on the link to compare their numbers through their first three seasons.) And three more.

Here are the contracts those guys signed, and when:

  • Gay - 5 years, $82M (after his fourth season, extended)
  • Villaneuva - 5 years, $37.5M (after his fourth season, free agent)
  • Deng - 6 years, $71M (after his third season, extended)
  • Dunleavy - 5 years, $45M (after his fourth season, extended)
  • Granger - 5 years, $60M (after his third season, extended)
  • Murphy - 6 years, $60M (not confident in this figure, can't find a link. Extension after third season, though).
It's a bit of a shock Thad stands up so well in those comps, I'm not sure if it says more about Thad's play (in a good way) or the other guys' (in a bad way), but if you were Thad's agent, you could easily put together a packet showing his production vs. other guys and make a case for a healthy extension. Of course, I'm not sure any of the other players regressed in each of their first three seasons (Gay regressed big time in his third year), as Thad has.

As I said above, I'm not expecting any of these guys to sign an extension prior to November 1st, but I will be holding my breath a bit. Crazier things have happened with this franchise.