ProFitX Feature: Rookie Extension Candidates 2021

By Harrison Grimm

Today, we’ll be taking a brief look into Rookie extension candidates using ProFitX and the salary projection formula, along with their individual team fit, to try and gauge the likelihood of them getting a max contract extension. The 2021 free agency period will bring us upon yet another contract extension period for the 2018 NBA draft class. This class was arguably one of the most talented of the decade, and multiple players could be getting max deal extensions in the coming weeks. Some of the names highlighted in this loaded draft class include Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Collin Sexton, Deandre Ayton, and Michael Porter Jr. Each of these players has built a solid case that could net him the biggest payday of his young career.


Rookie Extension Candidate #1: Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic is just a few seasons into his career, yet he has become a top-10 player in that short time. Doncic is far and away the best talent, and his payday will reflect that. In fact, Doncic is on pace to be the youngest player to receive a supermax deal. As a member of an All-NBA team, Luka is eligible for a supermax, and it’s almost a given that the Mavericks will offer him one. Doncic had a real-time contract value worth $40.4 million last season, and ProFitX projects Doncic to be a $45 million player next season. You likely don’t need my prediction with this one: Doncic will undoubtedly get a super-max deal offered to him.   Rookie Extension Candidate Doncic

Rookie Extension Candidate #2: Trae Young

A more interesting storyline is that of Atlanta’s Trae Young. Young is coming off of an impressive first postseason. He has proven to be a max contract player, averaging north of 25 points-per-game and nearly 10 assists to go with them. Young being a max player isn’t much of a debate, but the interesting storyline to follow will be if he decides to sign an offered max contract. Let me explain: Young is currently ineligible for a supermax deal, as he didn’t make an All-NBA team in the prior year. Young can “settle” and sign a max-contract extension this summer, but there exists the possibility he’ll wait, bet on himself, and try to get an All-NBA team selection next year in order to make himself eligible for the super-max next summer in restricted free agency. ProFitX had Young’s real-time contract value at over $33.8 million last year, and also has him projected to be a $40.8 million player next season. Young led the Hawks to a deep and surprising postseason run in just his first year. ProFitX lists his Playoff Contract Trajectory at +6.18%. My prediction: Ice Trae is young and extremely talented, so don’t be shocked if he decides to wait for a bigger deal.   Rookie Extension Candidate Young

Rookie Extension Candidate #3: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shifting focus to the West, we have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — who has been the face of one of the most impressive rebuilding teams seen yet. Shai had his season cut short due to injury (and also a tanking team), but he was very impressive in the time he spent on-court. Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 23.7 points-per-game on very good efficiency from the field and three point line: with splits north of 50/40 in each category. What makes this even more impressive is his achievement in the face of the talent – or lack thereof – around him due to OKC’s rebuild. Defenses shrink around him and double often, yet this hasn’t phased him much, if at all. ProFitX had his real-time contract valued at over $19 million last season, even with his season being cut short due to injury. My prediction: SGA and OKC come to an agreement on a max-deal extension, making him the face of the franchise for the long haul. Rookie Extension Candidate Gilgeous-Alexander

Rookie Extension Candidate #4: Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton is the only player on the list who has been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks. He’s looking for a max contract, and it seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers might not be interested. Sexton has proven to be a gifted scorer, averaging 24.3 points-per-game on efficient shooting, though he’s fallen flat in being an inconsistent guard, averaging a lackluster 4.4 assists-per-game. This is a tough situation to read. Sexton has immense value as a scorer alone, and ProFitX reflects that in his real-time contract value of $27.1 million. It doesn’t seem like the Cavs are willing to pay him that much, however, based upon the loud trade rumors. My prediction: Sexton does not get offered a max-contract if he stays in Cleveland. However, if he is traded in the coming weeks, Sexton will likely get an offer in that ballpark from his new team. Rookie Contract Extension Sexton

Rookie Extension Candidate #5: Deandre Ayton

Deandre Ayton has had a roller coaster of a career through his first three seasons in the league. The fast rise of stars taken after him in the draft — such as Luka Doncic and Trae Young — brought loud criticism Ayton’s way. That said, things have changed for the better. Ayton has developed into a solid two-way talent with great finishing ability around the rim to go along with some newfound rim-protection. Playing with Chris Paul and the deep talent in Phoenix has caused Ayton’s numbers to drop slightly, but make no mistake: Ayton has been a crucial part of the success that propelled Phoenix to the NBA Finals. ProfitX had Ayton’s real-time contract value at $25.5 million last season — which is approaching the neighborhood of a max contract. Ayton completely boosted his value with the Suns’ deep playoff run, which is reflected by ProFitX’s playoff Contract Trajectory of +9.22%. Phoenix cannot afford to let Ayton go, especially after his promising Finals appearance. My prediction: Ayton gets offered a near-max to max contract extension deal. Rookie Contract Extension Ayton

Rookie Extension Candidate #6: Michael Porter Jr.

Our final player, Denver’s Michael Porter, Jr., was the last player taken in the lottery area of the draft. His career got off to a slow start, as he was rehabbing some serious back/spinal injuries. Denver turned out to be the perfect spot for Porter though, as he was able to progress through the rehab at his own rate without being rushed. Denver’s investment and patience paid off, as Porter has developed into a gifted scorer and shooter. In just his third season he put up 19 points-per-game on beautiful efficiency – 54.2% shooting from the field and 44% shooting from three. Porter had a real-time contract value of $23.3 million last season and has a projection worth north of $25.7 million for the upcoming year, both courtesy of ProFitX. Porter’s development is real, however there is still serious injury concern that might hold him back from getting a max deal. My prediction: Porter will not get a max contract, but he’ll get close to one. ProFitX’s projections seem to be on the money. Rookie Extension Candidate Porter Jr The 2018 draft class has a deep amount of talent. There are easily 5-10 players outside of the ones listed above that can be expected to be rewarded with decent contract extensions. That said, Doncic, Young, Gilgeous-Alexander, Sexton, Ayton, and Porter Jr. are undoubtedly your names to watch for Rookie contract extensions.