Monday was the deadline for teams to give out rookie scale extensions, something Russell and Hollis-Jefferson apparently weren't aware of, per Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
No extensions for D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. When asked about the possibility of an extension earlier at practice, neither player knew today was the deadline. Both players will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer as Nets preserve 2019 cap space.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) October 15, 2018
The Nets are prioritizing cap space for the summer of 2019 when they’ll potentially have money to sign two max contract players. General manager Sean Marks said all summer he wanted to see how the current roster would play together this season before committing any long-term contracts.
D'Angelo Russell is slated to make $7.02 million this season and will enter restricted free agency in the summer of 2019 if Brooklyn offers him a $9.16 million qualifying offer. Brooklyn acquired Russell from the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2017. In 48 regular-season games last year, Russell averaged 15.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 41.4 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from beyond the arc and 74.0 percent from the free-throw line. The 22-year-old lefty underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery in November to remove loose bodies. He is 100 percent healthy now.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, meanwhile, will make $2.47 million this year and has a qualifying offer worth $3.59 million in 2019. The 6-foot-7 swingman averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2017-18 for the Nets while shooting 47.2 percent overall, 24.1 percent from 3-point range and 78.8 percent from the charity stripe.
Did Russell and Hollis-Jefferson's agents not inform them today was the rookie scale extension deadline? It appears to be that way, or maybe the two players were just having fun with reporters. Regardless, the two youngsters are entering contract years now and NBA players usually play well when the pressure is on them and money is at stake.
The Nets take on the Detroit Pistons to open the 2018-19 season on the road. Russell and Hollis-Jefferson will be joined in the starting lineup by Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, and Jarrett Allen.