Greg Oden to Be Restricted Free Agent Next Summer
While it's not a surprise, considering Oden has played in just 82 games in his first three seasons due to injuries, the 2007 NBA top draft pick will become the first No. 1 selection to not have signed a contract extension after his third season since Kwame Brown was taken by Washington in 2001 and became a restricted free agent in the summer of 2005.
Bill Duffy, head of BDA Sports, which represents Oden, confirmed to FanHouse on Tuesday that Oden will not sign an extension by Monday's deadline.
"There's too much that he needs to do,'' Duffy said of Oden, who still has yet to be cleared to play after suffering a serious knee injury last December and missing the rest of the season.
Duffy called it a mutual decision between Oden's camp and the Trail Blazers to not to pursue an extension. He said it never really was discussed.
"It's really a foregone conclusion,'' Duffy said. "To evaluate what he's done so far, it's incomplete.''
Nov. 1 is the deadline for players taken in the first round of the 2007 draft to sign extensions that would kick in at the start of next season. It's normally Oct. 31 but was moved back a day this fall because Oct. 31 falls on a Sunday.
Only two players have signed so far, No. 2 pick Kevin Durant with Oklahoma City, and No. 9 selection Joakim Noah with Chicago. One agent representing a player taken in that first round speculates No. 3 selection Al Horford will end up re-signing with Atlanta, but that nobody else might sign. If that is the case, the number of players locked in would be three, half of the six who got extensions last fall.
"Owners really don't want to give them out because they believe there will be a collective bargaining agreement in place next summer that is more favorable to them,'' said the agent about the belief there will be a CBA that lowers salaries after the current one expires June 30, 2011.
There have been reports, though, that Phoenix forward Jared Dudley, drafted No. 22, and New York forward Wilson Chandler, taken No. 23, could get extensions.
"We're talking, but it's hard to predict what will happen,'' said Mark Bartelstein, Dudley's agent. "We'll see if we can get something done that makes sense.''
Bartelstein does not expect two of his other clients from the 2007 draft, No. 16 Nick Young of Washington, and No. 20 Jason Smith of New Orleans, to sign extensions.
Also, the Hornets have not expressed any interest in offering an extension to guard Marco Belinelli, taken No. 18 in that draft. New Orleans acquired Belinelli in August and Smith in September.
Duffy confirmed two of his other clients from the 2007 draft, No. 4 pick Mike Conley Jr. of Memphis and No. 14 selection Al Thornton of Washington also will not sign extensions by Monday.
"We think both of them are going to have breakout seasons,'' Duffy said of the two.
One player who still has a shot at getting an extension is guard Arron Afflalo, the No. 27 pick by Detroit in 2007 who is now with Denver. Sources close to the situation said there have been talks between the Nuggets and Afflalo's representation, but no salary numbers have been exchanged. While it still remains a long shot Afflalo will get an extension due to the uncertainty about Denver's long-term future (namely that Carmelo Anthony might be traded), it's expected the sides will talk again before the deadline.
Afflalo sure didn't hurt his cause by averaging a surprising 20.4 points in the preseason. He's already said he would like to re-sign with Denver as restricted free agent next summer if he doesn't get an extension this fall.
"It's a week (before the deadline). If something happens, I will be elated,'' Afflalo said. "If not, I'll just play it out.''
A lot of first-round picks from 2007 will be doing just that this season, including the top guy taken.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson