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NBA contract renewal contenders: How will LeBron James, Warriors, Raptors and more deal with financial future questions?

Free agency has slowed to a crawl. The trade chatter between Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell has died down. The NBA has entered its quiet phase – or has it?

Ahead of the 2022/23 season, several players will have the opportunity to sign contract extensions with their current teams. Some stars have already completed new extensions, including back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and All-NBA First Team guard Devin Booker, but other situations are still up in the air.

Let’s go through some of the big names before they become eligible for renewal.

MORE: Why didn’t the Jazz sell Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks?

The top NBA candidates for contract renewals

LeBron James, Lakers

We’ve expanded on James’ status here, but this is the abridged version: James is eligible to sign a contract extension with the Lakers on Thursday, August 4th. It could be a one-year renewal worth $47 million or a two-year renewal worth $97 million.

He seems happy in Los Angeles, but could he delay extension talks to put pressure on the Lakers’ front office to pursue win-now opportunities?

Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, Warriors

Of the players eligible for renewal on the Warriors roster, perhaps the most intriguing case is Green, who could sign an extension as early as Wednesday, August 3. The former Defensive Player of the Year “wants and believes” he deserves a maximum four-year extension, according to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II, but it’s hard to imagine any team other than Golden State rating him with a maximum salary slot .

Warriors Ownership will eventually cut spending. Joe Lacob has clarified that the cost of the squad will not skyrocket to $400-500m. That means Golden State has tough decisions to make in the near future.

MORE: Is Green worth max extension to Warriors?

Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, Raptors

VanVleet can sign an extension immediately and Siakam’s offer could come as soon as October 1st. However, as noted by The Athletic’s Eric Koreen, both players have good reason to wait.

The Raptors can offer lucrative extensions to VanVleet (four-year, $114 million) and Siakam (three-year, $125 million), but they could earn even more down the road if they perform at high levels next season. It wouldn’t be a shock to see them moving forward with contract talks because as VanVleet has said, sometimes the best strategy is to…

Khris Middleton, Bucks

Given how perfectly Middleton fits alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and how much he’s grown as a player in Milwaukee, both sides should be motivated to maintain that relationship.

Middleton can go through one of three doors: agree to an extension, exercise his player option for the 2023-24 season ($40.4 million), or enter free agency and sign a new contract. He may decide to keep extra time on the table for now as he could increase his value with another stellar season.

Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown, Celtics and Dejounte Murray, Hawks

We’re grouping these guys together because it would be unwise for either of them to take the expansion path. Brown, for example, could potentially make $8-9 million more in 2024-25 if he goes through full agency instead of agreeing to an extension now.

Unless they end up on one of the All-NBA teams and qualify for the supermax, expect Brown and Murray to enter the free agency market in 2024 — even if they plan on staying with their current teams.

RJ Barrett, Knicks and Tyler Herro, Heat

And let’s also throw the youngsters together. Why? Well, her circumstances are a bit complicated.

History shows that players on the Barrett and Herro tracks typically hit at least something close to the rookie scale max extension, or as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst calls it “the fun max.” This type of contract usually goes to a young player with star potential and does not destroy a team’s financial flexibility.

But the equation isn’t that simple when considering a potential superstar trade. The Knicks have been linked to Mitchell, and the Heat have been implicated in Durant-related rumors. If these teams remain part of the trade talks, Barrett and Herro may have to wait.

Other notable renewal contenders: Jerami Grant, CJ McCollum, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner

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