Podcast: What’s next for Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving and rookie scale extension candidates?

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On the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast, hosts Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan discuss Brooklyn’s decision that Kyrie Irving won’t play or practice with the Nets until he’s vaccinated and what’s next for Ben Simmons and rookie-scale contract extension candidates.

For more interviews with players, coaches, and media members, be sure to like and subscribe to the HoopsHype podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts. Listen to the podcast above or check out some snippets of the conversation in a transcribed version below.

:40 Kyrie Irving

Scotto: In a statement, Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team has decided Kyrie Irving will not play or practice with the team until he’s eligible to be a full participant. Marks said, “Kyrie has made a personal choice, and we respect his individual right to choose. Currently, the choice restricts his ability to be a full-time member of the team, and we will not permit any member of our team to participate with part-time availability.”

In the short term, it hurts Brooklyn’s chances as a championship contender. They still have plenty of assets to be a contender, but they’re obviously a better team with Irving. I also questioned how this will affect James Harden’s desire to sign an extension with the Nets and Irving’s desire to extend with the Nets as well?

The signing of Patty Mills went from a luxury to a necessity with Irving being out. I’m not saying he’s going to be Olympics Mills, but he’s certainly going to have a bigger role for this team.

Gozlan: I think he will get the shot at some point. I thought the Nets might let Kyrie be a part-time player and live through the restrictions, betting that he would be miserable with all these restrictions. I commend the Nets for putting their foot down on this part-time stuff. It stinks things had to get to this point that they needed to make this decision and the statement. I think the statement will get him to take it (the vaccine) sooner. I’m sure he’ll take it. I don’t think he’s going to miss out on all that money.

Scotto: I’m not banking on him getting it right now. When he puts his mind to something, it just seems like that’s where he’s at. Kyrie’s always been different in terms of his thinking if you talk to any former teammates and coaches. That’s one word they’ll use to describe him.

10:00 Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons

Scotto: Simmons going back to Philadelphia reminds me of Marshawn Lynch doing his Super Bowl media interviews saying he just didn’t want to get fined and when George Costanza showed up back to work on Seinfeld. After all the comments from Doc Rivers questioning whether they can win a title with Ben as a point guard and Joel Embiid calling him out after Simmons requested a trade through the media, plus the boos Philly fans will shower this man with, I don’t see how he can go back, and everything can be sunshine and rainbows like they say in Rocky Balboa.

Gozlan: A couple of weeks ago, I was saying that Simmons should join training camp to expedite his trade demand to make things as uncomfortable as possible, citing what Jimmy Butler and James Harden did. I don’t think Ben is the type to do these types of things. He seems more passive. If he keeps making passes as he did in Game 7 versus the Hawks, like every time he gets the ball, maybe the Sixers trade him faster.

14:15 Rookie-scale contract extension candidates: Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges

Scotto: Deandre Ayton is a guy who’s clearly looking for a max contract. There was a video posted by Duane Rankin, and in the video, Ayton said, “I love Phoenix, but I’m really disappointed that we haven’t gotten a deal done yet. We were two wins away from a championship. I just really want to be respected, to be honest like my peers are being respected by their teams.”

This situation reminds me of the talks Atlanta had with John Collins when he was eligible for an extension, but the difference is Ayton and the Suns went much further than the Hawks did with Collins at the time of those talks.

MORE: Find out where Ayton ranks on our top 22 centers for the 2021-22 season

Mikal Bridges could be valued in the $20 million annual range, according to some around the league.

Gozlan: I’d expect both extensions to get done… I think the Suns could be looking at what John Collins got and maybe try to get Ayton back somewhere between what Collins got and the max. Collins didn’t get the max, which would’ve averaged about $30 million a year. Instead, he got $25 million a year. The maximum Ayton is projected for is just about $35 million a year. I think negotiations for this one could go up until the last minute. Phoenix is clearly trying to alleviate their expenses as much as possible since next year’s team and onward will be expensive, especially factoring in an extension for Mikal Bridges.

17:50 Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers

Scotto: He’s not a max guy. You wonder what makes sense? Is it $22.5 million or $25 million annually? That would be more than contracts for Fred VanVleet, Lonzo Ball and Malcolm Brogdon over the past few years. Internally, Cleveland values Sexton’s durability.

According to Tommy Beer of BasketballNews, Sexton became the second-youngest player in NBA history (behind only Kevin Durant) to average more than 24 points per game while shooting above 47 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range.

Gozlan: I think if you’re Sexton, you see that Terry Rozier extension and don’t want anything less than that. Rozier is getting roughly $25 million per year. Cleveland can give him that money without worrying about being in the luxury tax next year. Also, despite giving big money to Jarrett Allen and Lauri Markkanen, they probably will still be able to avoid the tax while giving Darius Garland a big deal since Kevin Love’s money will come off the books by then.

19:50 Jaren Jackson Jr.

Scotto: He’s coming off a major injury. To me, Memphis has the leverage here and should make him show he’s healthy before overpaying him. If they can sign him to a deal where they get some injury protection, maybe that makes sense.

MORE: Jackson Jr. one of the top breakout players according to NBA executives poll

Gozlan: Right now, I think he should still get north of $20 million annually. Maybe Memphis wants to partially guarantee the final year in case of a major injury like Denver did with Michael Porter Jr… He could also bet on himself and prove he’s worth more, though I think most players would like to avoid free agency, if possible.

22:33 Miles Bridges

Scotto: Miles Bridges and the Hornets have had discussions about a possible contract extension, HoopsHype has learned. Some around the league believe a possible floor for Bridges would be around the $20 million range annually.

Gozlan: After extending Rozier, they’re probably not going to have any cap space in the short term, so they might as well lock down Bridges too while they can. They won’t have any tax issues if they extend Bridges.

24:15 Kevin Huerter

Kevin Huerter
Kevin Huerter

Scotto: Kevin Huerter might command Joe Harris type of money. Some around the league see him as a guy that’s around the $18 million annual range.

Gozlan: Trae Young and John Collins just got paid. They can extend him now, but next summer they’re going to have these same talks with De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

Scotto: I’d forecast Atlanta tries to move Cam Reddish. They’ve got plenty of guys at his position, and he’s still a nice young trade asset another team can use.

26:45 Borderline extension players that can go either way

Scotto: The Milwaukee Bucks have Donte DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen.

Gozlan: I’d think the Bucks want to get something done with at least one of those guys, and based on his experience with them, I’d figure it’s DiVincenzo. The Bucks don’t have any flexibility going forward, so they won’t be able to replace these guys.

28:43 Wendell Carter Jr.

Scotto: He’s shown flashes but hasn’t been able to stay on the floor. What can he get in your estimation if they agree to an extension?

Gozlan: They’ve given out a lot of team-friendly extensions over the years, from Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon to Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac. I can see them giving him $12-16 million annually.

30:50 Landry Shamet

Scotto: The Suns and Landry Shamet have had an ongoing dialogue about a possible extension, HoopsHype has learned. One source I spoke to categorized an extension as “50-50” by the deadline.

32:18 Lonnie Walker

Scotto: I can’t say I’ve heard anything is imminent.

Gozlan: They have so many guards, I thought maybe they’d look to trade him for some frontcourt help.

33:15 Unlikely extension candidates

Kevin Knox, New York Knicks
Kevin Knox, New York Knicks

Scotto: The Knicks with Kevin Knox… Another unlikely guy is Marvin Bagley in Sacramento. They’ve been dangling this guy like Karako suits and their five-for-one sale.

Mo Bamba is also eligible for a contract extension. Before the book is closed on him in Orlando, I previously heard management was higher on him than Steve Clifford.

Some other guys that come to mind that are unlikely to get an extension done are Josh Okogie with the Timberwolves…

I’m told there are no extension talks between the Wizards and Aaron Holiday, but they like him and will probably end up evaluating him with the team this season.

I think you can put Anfernee Simons with the Trail Blazers in the unlikely category and Troy Brown Jr. with the Chicago Bulls.

36:10 Rookie-scale team options unlikely to be picked up for next season

Scotto: The number one guy that sticks out to me is Jarrett Culver ($8.1 million team option next season) with the Memphis Grizzlies. He shot less than 41 percent in two seasons with Minnesota before he saw a decreased role in his second season before going to Memphis, which is pretty loaded at his position. I don’t see that one happening.

MORE: Restricted free agency behind the scenes: ‘It’s not really free agency’

MORE: Why the 2022 free agent market could be bad

You can follow Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) and Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) on Twitter.

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