Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine expected to receive max contracts
Two of the NBA’s brightest young talents are expected to command a large sum to remain with their respective teams, as Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine head toward restricted free agency this summer.
Both Gordon and LaVine have shown massive upside for their respective teams and given today’s market, which values youth over perhaps anything else, these players’ value is hovering around the max-level range.
“I think both teams are aware they need to go to max numbers for them,” said Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports of the two stars during an appearance in Chris Mannix’s Podcast. “But the question is will they make them go get a sheet. The sentiment I’ve gotten is if Zach LaVine goes and gets a max, we have too much invested in them. Same with Aaron Gordon.”
Gordon has managed to flourish when it counted the most, showing that untapped potential after the team had declined his option for the 2018-19 season. LaVine has a much smaller sample size with the Bulls, but a mix of athleticism and work ethic has the organization convinced they want to build around his talents.
Gordon could command as much as a four-year, $107 million contract starting at $24.9 million in his first season if a different team was to extend an offer sheet. If the Magic were to offer Gordon the max, it would be a hulking five-year, $146.5 million signing that starts at $25.3 million in 2018-19.
The Magic and the Bulls have given every indication that they will keep their respective rising stars, but the length and size of the contract will play a major part in their cap flexibility over the course of the next few years, making it a reason to tread carefully when doling out money in large chunks.