Contract watch: Players that helped themselves over the last month

The NBA season is just over a third complete and it’s becoming clear which players are making great strides and having career years. Here are several players that are outperforming their current contract and are setting themselves up for new deals very soon. We used ProFitX to view what these players should be earning based on their level of play, and evaluate if these players are in a position to earn such a raise with their current team.

Darius Garland

Darius Garland Real-Time Contract by ProFitX
Darius Garland Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Darius Garland Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Darius Garland finished sixth in HoopsHype’s voting for MVP based on advanced metrics. He is averaging career highs all across the board on excellent efficiency. His leap is a significant factor in Cleveland’s surprising great season and will garner serious All-Star consideration.

Garland is playing with a Real-Time Contract of $27.5 million, which is slightly below the starting salary for the projected maximum salary he is eligible for in 2023-24. As long as he continues this production throughout the season and the Cavaliers remain competitive, he could get a maximum or near-maximum extension. He becomes eligible for a rookie-scale extension this offseason and the Cavaliers should be able to fit his future salary along with potential new deals for Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio with Kevin Love’s contract set to expire by then.

Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet Real-Time Contract by ProFitX
Fred VanVleet Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Fred VanVleet Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Fred VanVleet is another guard who is garnering serious first time All-Star consideration. His transition to point-guard full time has gone very well as he remains one of the best defenders at his position. He is also scoring at his most efficient rate from the field and three-point line. VanVleet finished 8th in HoopsHype’s advanced metrics MVP vote largely based on his ability to stay on the court.

VanVleet is playing with a Real-Time Contract of $31.6 million which is a salary range he could be earning in the near future. He will be eligible this offseason for a three-year extension worth up to $88.7 million, which has an average annual salary just slightly below his Real-Time Contract. If he continues to improve, that extension amount should be the floor of his next contract with the potential to earn more if he hits free agency.

Myles Turner

Myles Turner Real-Time Contract by ProFitX
Myles Turner Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Myles Turner Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Myles Turner is having a fantastic season building off of the leap he made last season with his highest efficiency yet and a boost in rebounding. His future is very much in play with the Pacers reportedly ready to be active in this year’s trade market. There should be a a very strong trade market for him with his two-way game and ability to stretch the floor, allowing him to plug in with almost any team that needs an upgrade at center.

Turner becomes extension-eligible this offseason for up to four-years and a base of $94 million. He is playing with a Real-Time Contract of $21 million which would make up the starting salary of that extension. It seems like a very logical extension amount for him and if traded, good chance his new team offers it to him similarly to Aaron Gordon’s extension after being acquired by the Nuggets.

Dejounte Murray

Dejounte Murray Real-Time Contract by ProFitX
Dejounte Murray Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Dejounte Murray Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Dejounte Murray has elevated himself to the better half of starting point guards in the league. While his overall numbers have improved, it’s his playmaking and passing that has helped push San Antonio’s offense to one of the best in the league throughout December. He has even made a strong effort to improve his three-point shooting and still has more room to grow. He only has nine games in his first four seasons with at least three made three pointers. He is already at seven this season.

Murray will be extension-eligible in October for up to three-years and a base of $68.8 million that would run through the 2026-27 season. For the Spurs, $23 million annually would be a bargain as he’s playing with Real-Time Contract of $30.3 million so far this season. If he continues to expand his game, look for Murray to get a deal closer to his Real-Time Contract in free agency.

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

Andrew Wiggins’ redemption arc has him going from having arguably one of the worst contracts in the league to a player the Warriors deeply depend on in their title pursuit. His overall shot selection has improved and is shooting 43 percent from three, which is the sixteenth-best rate in the league. While his scoring and overall numbers look the same, it’s his defense that is standing out to the point that he can be trusted to stay in front of really good wing players.

Wiggins was speculated to be the salary filler in a potential consolidation trade involving the Warriors recent lottery picks. However, with the Warriors coasting to having the league’s best record, they seem more likely to stand pat, especially with Klay Thompson set to return soon. In fact, Wiggins may have cemented a long-term future in Golden State as he will become extension-eligible this offseason.

Patty Mills

Patty Mills Real-Time Contract by ProFitX
Patty Mills Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Patty Mills Real-Time Contract by ProFitX

Patty Mills is in year 12 and is having the best season in his career. He simply cannot miss and is shooting efficiently from all over the court, including 44 percent from three which is the eighth-best rate in the league. He has the fourth-best effective field-goal percentage amongst guards but he is doing it with the highest volume amongst the top four. He would probably run away with the Sixth Man of the Year award but it seems unlikely he will come off the bench for enough games to qualify.

Mills has a player option for next season worth $6.2 million that he could decline. He took a discount to join the Nets, likely passing on offers worth the full non-taxpayer mid-level extension and higher. The Nets can re-sign Mills on a four-year deal worth $30.4 million with a starting salary of $7 million. If he wants to bet on himself, he can accept a one-year deal worth $7 million, then re-sign in the 2023 offseason for up to four-years and up to $55.4 million through Early Bird rights.

1

1