Did RJ Barrett’s extension mold the market for Tyler Herro, and Jordan Poole? Ja Morant received his evident max rookie contract extension this summer. Zion Williamson and Darius Garland received their slightly less obvious but still very comprehensible max extensions.
However, the biggest question that emerges is on the rookie contract extension board: the Knicks’ RJ Barrett, the Warriors’ Jordan Poole, and the Heat’s Tyler Herro.
That was until Monday when Barrett went on to sign a four-year, $107 million guaranteed (but is expected to be worth up to $120 with incentives) extension to stay in New York.
Did Barrett’s deal mold the market for Herro and Poole?
Not precisely. But the answer could be a yes in a broad sense.
Barrett got nowhere near the five-year, $193 million max. His acceptance of less went on to set the market for Herro and Poole. As a result, none of them are getting the max. None of them deserve the way Morant does, but they held out hope.
The situations of Herro and Poole are different from Barrett’s situation.
Herro has been the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. The Sun-Sentinal’s Ira Winderman states that he has started just 33 games across three years. Barrett initiated more than 70 each of the past two seasons. Herro possesses his skills. Herro can shoot the rock, get hot, do some secondary play creation, and has acquired big playoff games. Herro performs with good numbers – 20.7 points a game, shooting 39.9% from 3 last season. But he has an issue defensively. He has to prove he can start in that way. Herro is not as well-rounded a player compared to Barrett.
A key difference between Herro’s position and Barrett’s is that Barrett was the No. 1 option for the Knicks last season. He had to perform a heavy shot creation load. The signing of Jalen Brunson is at worst option 1B in New York. Herro is placed as option three or four in Miami. The Heat does not need Herro the way the Knicks required Barrett. But Barrett got the core because of the Knicks roster at the time. Herro walked into a talented team after the draft.
No rush is there for the Heat to extend Herro. The second Herro signs an extension he is going to come off the table as a trade chip. Herro is an important part of the Heat’s offers for Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant. On the other hand, neither of those deals is anywhere close. There is no reason left for the Heat to slam the door. Herro is bound to sign his extension by Oct. 18.
The decision of Miami might not be to offer Herro a reasonable extension to keep him trade eligible through the February deadline. They might decide on an extension next summer.
The situation of Jordan Poole in Golden State is different. He has proved to be a playoff star. He has been the Warriors’ second-best offensive player through the postseason. He was crucial to the team winning a title.
Dalton Johnson compared a Poole extension to Anfernee Simons’ Trail Blazers offer (four years, $100 million) and the Knicks’ Brunson (four years, $104 million guaranteed, up to $110 million with incentives). Barrett is present in that same ballpark.
Jordan struggles defensively, similar to Herro. But he has proved himself on a big stage. He did earn the trust of players such as Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. Poole is expected to be a bridge to a future with Jonathan Kuminga. Poole’s role this coming season might be on a growth path.
There are big-picture finances for the Warriors to take into consideration. They had the highest payroll in the NBA the previous season. They set a record with their luxury tax payment. The Warriors and Clippers are expected to be right at the top again this season.
Curry and Klay Thompson both are used to making more than $40 million a season. The Warriors desire to extend Andrew Wiggins. Draymond Green is in a position to be extension eligible. The extensions for Kuminga and Wiseman are on the way. The loss of Otto Porter and Gary Payton II is an example that despite the cash cow that is the Chase Center, there is a limit to the Warriors’ spending.
Where does Poole find himself in that equation and at what number?
One other thing to keep in mind with Herro and Poole (and Barrett and every rookie extension this year): The salary cap might go up dramatically in the NBA in the next five years. Revenue has already been increasing post-pandemic. A new television deal is expected to start in 2025. While Barrett at $25-30 million a season seems high, in a few years that number might look more like standard starter money and not be so bad.
It is a lot to figure out for the teams in the NBA, but RJ Barrett is the first domino.
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