Extension Arbitrator: What deals we'd give 2010 NBA draft picks

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Need to extend a young player, but don't know what to pay him? The Extension Arbitrator will tell you what is a decent value for your soon-to-be free agent.

The 2010 NBA Draft class has produced a few stars, but it certainly didn't include a deep crop of role players. Of the draft's 30 first-round picks, only 18 have remained in the league by teams picking up their rookie contract options in the third or fourth years.

John Wall, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Larry Sanders and Derrick Favors were the first players to earn long-term contract extensions past their rookie deals. There are other players who certainly could come to similar agreements with their teams before the Oct. 31 deadline. If they don't, they will become restricted free agents next summer.

Who has value worth talking about? We bring you the Extension Arbitrator, our way of deducing the pros and cons of each player from the 2010 class -- at least in the eyes of someone without millions of dollars to spend. If they earned extensions, how much should they get paid?

Greg Monroe

Monroe has established himself as one of the best young big men and his passing is on the same level as Cousins. But after averaging 16 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last year, Monroe unfortunately finds himself in a unique roster situation that probably explains the lack of buzz about an extension. Detroit signed forward Josh Smith and point guard Brandon Jennings this offseason, and the emergence of shot-blocking center Andre Drummond could make Monroe the odd man out. Rim-protecting big men are the most coveted asset for any team hoping to build a contender, and that gives Drummond priority over Monroe.

But discounting the roster situation in Detroit, the 23-year-old Monroe certainly is worthy of earning a hefty contract. The Pistons have run the offense through the big man over the last few years and his numbers very much mirror those of Cousins, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal with the Kings despite his behavior issues.

Cousins' upside is considered greater than Monroe's, but his similar attributes set the market value. Nevertheless, given Detroit's roster situation, we'll award Monroe a less lucrative contract


Gordon Hayward

The former Butler Bulldog has long been viewed as the future face of the Jazz, and that will be tested this year. The small forward will take over full-time starting duties and be relied upon to carry Utah in 2013-14 after averaging 14.1 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game last year. The 23-year-old has size, smarts and versatility that makes him a potential star.

But should he get a contract bigger than Favors' four-year, $49 million extension? Last offseason, the Toronto Raptors signed swingman DeMar DeRozan to a criticized, but now better-looking deal worth $40 million over four years. DeRozan already played a bigger role than Hayward, averaging 18 points per game while shooting a higher percentage from the field than Hayward did, albeit, not from three-point range and without the versatility factor. So, handing Hayward a contract even equal to his teammate, Favors, would seem steep.

Hayward will be good, but giving him a deal of more than $40 million over four years is a big leap of faith.

Hayward will be good, but giving him a deal of more than $40 million over four years is a big leap of faith. That would make him a higher-paid player than Golden State's Stephen Curry, who signed a $44 million deal over four years last offseason, or New Orleans' Jrue Holiday, who signed for $41 million. Curry had ankle issues, of course, but Holiday is a better player as well.


Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe presents an interesting case after being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Phoenix Suns. Where the Clippers could have risked Bledsoe becoming a free agent since he was a backup, the Suns don't have a Chris Paul playing in front of Bledsoe. That could help the fourth-year guard greatly increase his value in 2013-14. If Bledsoe has a good season, he very well could make himself a pricey signing by excelling on a bad team. That makes the Suns' decision to extend the guard more important as Oct. 31 looms.

At the same time, Phoenix doesn't know if Bledsoe is just an athletically-gifted defensive menace with fine scoring and playmaking abilities, or an All-Star caliber point guard. Will he be an overpaid borderline star or an underpaid perennial All-Star?

In the 2012 offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers signed point guard Jrue Holiday to a four-year, $41 million contract with incentives of around $5 million. The Sixers, however, had evidence that Holiday was a blossoming starting point guard.

What's the evidence with Bledsoe? He still hasn't gained experience as a starting point guard on a day-to-day basis. He will have chances to prove himself this season even with Goran Dragic playing with him, yet if the Suns were forced today to hand a contract to the 18th pick from 2010 draft, it shouldn't be for more than $40 million.



Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Davis

Davis doesn't have the notoriety across the NBA like Bledsoe, Monroe or Hayward, but he's quietly in a fine position to earn an impressive contract extension. His involvement in the Rudy Gay trade that moved him from Toronto to Memphis didn't help his value, especially since former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins restricted his minutes behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

But there's a lot to like. Davis has averaged a double-double per 36 minutes for all three of his NBA seasons. Though offensively limited, he's efficient when he does shoot, as he's almost always deep in the paint. Randolph has two expensive seasons left on his contract, and should the Grizzlies refuse to re-sign him when it ends or somehow trade him before the deal runs out, Davis will be waiting in the wings.

Most impressively, Davis is a 24-year-old with great length and shot-blocking ability, which, alongside Gasol, could keep Memphis in the conversation of Western Conference contenders for quite some time.


Evan Turner

It's not so much that Evan Turner isn't talented. It's just that Evan Turner might still be looking for who he is as a basketball player. He's versatile and knows the game, but the Philadelphia 76ers guard hasn't put it together to command a role that gives any value. He's an inefficient scorer, and while he's a decent playmaker, he has yet to establish himself as a defensive presence.

The best-case scenario is Turner eventually finding his way to a playoff contender where he fits in a starting lineup with other stars or coming off the bench. A one-year contract with a new team would be ideal, even if it costs a bit.


Avery Bradley

Boston likes Avery Bradley. He plays hard, changes games with his defensive pressure and doesn't have many significant weaknesses other than his jumper. Most importantly, Bradley is a winner. The questions, however, revolves around whether Bradley is much more than a defensive stopper. The 22-year-old is still learning the point guard position and will need to play with the same confidence on offense as he does on defense.

Market-wise, Bradley's lack of superstar potential -- that's based purely from the offensive production -- holds him back.


Greivis Vasquez

Last season's runner-up for the NBA's Most Improved Player award has improved in each of his three seasons in the league. Vasquez played with a very good Memphis Grizzlies team three years ago and has only gotten better in his last two seasons in New Orleans. Vasquez averaged 13.9 points, 9.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game last year.

Now, he's in Sacramento after an offseason trade. He's not a great defender and could use some consistency on his jumper, but it's his passing ability that will get him paid.


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