ProFitX 2021 Free Agency Bonanza: Rookies set to cash in on contract extensions.
By Harrison Grimm
We are approaching that time in which a draft class is eligible to sign the first contract extensions of their young careers – the upcoming free agency period. This summer will allow members of the 2018 NBA Draft class to sign contract extensions on top of their rookie deals. Today we’ll be utilizing ProFitX’s projection and real-time contract tool to get some insight into some of the players who are looking for a new deal
The first notable member of the 2018 Draft Class is Milwaukee’s Donte DiVincenzo, who was thrust into his team’s starting two-guard role. DiVincenzo is a productive two-way player, coming off of a career season averaging 10.4 points- and 5.8 rebounds-per-game. He recently suffered a postseason foot injury that cut his 2020-21 season short. ProFitX listed DiVincenzo’s real time contract value at $16 million last season; nearly $13 million more than what he was making. DiVincenzo has proven to be a starter-caliber player, and he will now look to be paid as one.
Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter is another young player who will be due for a substantial pay-raise based on one skill: shooting. Now more than ever, the league values perimeter shooting – that skill netted massive contracts for both Joe Harris and Davis Bertans. ProFitX listed Huerter’s real-time contract value at $21.4 million last season. Huerter is a talented shooter who is soundly capable of creating his own shot, which should further push his impending pay raise. Atlanta’s deep postseason run also helped Huerter’s projections, as ProFitX lists him as having a Playoff Contract Trajectory of +15.7%. Expect there to be massive interest in his restricted free agency if Atlanta isn’t willing to pay him.
Remaining within the Eastern Conference, Charlotte’s Miles Bridges will have one of more unpredictable contract negotiations. Bridges has been a solid rotation piece in Charlotte throughout his career, bringing size, defense, rebounding, and athletic plays to a fun young team. Always a solid player, Bridges showed some serious flashes when his teammate Gordon Hayward was out with an injury. Bridges averaged 19.8 points-per-game on efficient shooting, and was a major reason the Hornets didn’t completely go down the drain due to the injury bug plaguing the team. Bridges’s three-point shot seems to finally be consistent, which is bad news for opposing teams. ProFitX listed his real-time value at just under $19 million last year; however, that number could grow if the talent flashes Bridges showed last year turn out to be the real deal. Regardless, he’ll be due for a healthy contract extension.
Shifting things over to another “Bridges” of this draft class, Mikal Bridges has become one of the best young 3&D wings in the entire league. His defense and wingspan have always been intact, but Mikal’s improved shot has translated and thrived at the next level; He shot a very healthy 42.5% from beyond last season. Two-way players are heavily coveted around the league, and if Phoenix and Bridges are unable to come to terms on an extension, there will be teams throwing serious money their way in restricted free agents. ProFitX’s projections and real-time contract reflect this sentiment, as he had a real-time contract value at nearly $26.5 million. Bridges was a huge factor in Phoenix’s Finals appearance, and ProFitX reflects that within his Playoff Contract Trajectory at +7.79%. Regardless of which team it is, you can safely assume Mikal Bridges will get his bag.
The 2018 Draft class has been a joy to watch over the past 3 seasons with an abundance of talent to be found throughout the league. These are just some names to watch in the coming weeks. You can find our piece with ProFitX projections and contract values with max-contract extension candidates here.
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