Title: OG Anunoby presents a fascinating rookie extension dilemma for the Raptors
Date: October 5, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, Eric Koreen and I looked at the Raptors’ tough decision regarding an OG Anunoby extension, the pros and cons, and league and team precedent with similar extensions.
Masai Ujiri does not like seeing his players reach restricted free agency. He has he tended to lock in players — those he drafted and even those he did not — to extensions when possible.
In his history as an NBA executive, Ujiri has allowed only two players to reach restricted free agency: In 2018, the Raptors and Delon Wright could not come to an agreement, which was just as well. A few months later, Wright was a piece in the Marc Gasol trade with Memphis, which would have been very difficult to pull off had he signed a rookie-scale extension due to what’s colloquially known as the “poison-pill provision,” to prevent teams from effectively extending a player to make them a salary-matching asset. (Wright ended up going to Dallas from Memphis as a restricted free agent in a sign-and-trade the following summer. That deal — for three years and over $28 million — was probably richer than what the Raptors would have been comfortable with given their point guard depth at the time. It was also an open secret that Wright wanted to move somewhere with more opportunity.)
Previously, Ujiri didn’t award Arron Afflalo an extension in 2010, the same summer he took over in Denver. It was the Pistons who drafted Afflalo, and Ujiri’s predecessor in Denver, Mark Warkentien, had traded for him. The Nuggets could have signed Afflalo to an extension, but the club’s priority that summer was dealing with the Carmelo Anthony soap opera. In the end, it didn’t matter as the Nuggets re-signed Afflalo to a five-year contract worth almost $37 million as a restricted free agent, shortly after the lockout ended in 2011.