The NBA season is beginning to come to a close, and some teams are preparing for the playoff push while other are planning their summer vacations. The NBA MVP race has been pretty close all year long, with Russell Westbrook and James Harden as the frontrunners putting up historic numbers on their respective teams.
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Westbrook is on the verge of being the first person to average a triple-double for the season since the “Big O” Oscar Robertson did it in 1962. Harden is the facilitator for the fast-paced, new look Mike D’antoni Houston Rocket offense by averaging a career high in assists. Both franchises are playoff bound and its mainly because of the two superstars leading the teams. LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are also considered possible candidates that could take home the award.
This season, winning an award like MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or being named to the All-NBA team can have a major impact on players looking to sign contract extensions with their current teams, ESPN reports. The new collective bargaining agreement, which takes effect on July 1, has a new rule that basically says if a player has eight or nine years of service and wins one of those awards, he is eligible for a special exception called the “designated veteran player extension.”
40 Triple-Doubles para Russell Westbrook! pic.twitter.com/7fzNR1HTK8
— Hoop Edits???????? (@hoopeditsbr) April 3, 2017
This would allow said player to re-sign with their current team and get as much as $75 million more than they would get from any other team if they left as a free agent. This rule could have a major impact on the NBA landscape due to the fact that there are a couple of big-name soon-to-be free agents about to hit the market that could possibly stay with their current teams if they’re eligible for the “designated veteran player extension.”
Paul George is one of the first examples that come to mind when thinking about the new CBA rules. George is in the midst of a terrific season and is trying to carry his Indiana Pacer team into the playoffs. As of right now, the team is on the outside looking in after losing 6 of the last seven games, but they still have a legitimate shot if they can pull it together during the final week of the season.
Paul George & LeBron James had an epic double OT duel.
Lebron: 41/16/11 (16-29fg)
PG13: 43/9/9 (16-33fg)
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 3, 2017
George has been on a tear down the stretch and had 43 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in a disappointing double overtime loss to LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers last night.
George was asked about his recent performance and the team’s struggles and had this to say regarding him being named All-NBA.
“For contract reasons [All-NBA] is important. But I’m not thinking about contracts. If my performance down the stretch lands me on the All-NBA, which I think I’m deserving of, then so be it. I’ll be happy. It’s on me, man. You’ve got a guy like Russ who’s making everything I do not enough. He’s putting on performances and he’s winning games. So I can’t say nothing. If a guy like Russ can win games and play at the level he’s playing at, regardless of how I’m playing, it’s not enough.”
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Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is in a similar position to Paul George. Hayward will be a free agent this summer but only has seven years of service. If he exercises his contract option for next year, he could sign an extension for the 2018-2019 season. His contract could be the largest in NBA history at six years and about $230 million. Hayward making the All-NBA team this year would give the Utah Jazz tremendous leverage when it comes to re-signing their franchise player because no other team could come close to offering him that type of money. It will be interesting to see what happens when the NBA awards are announced in June.
An All-NBA snub for either George or Hayward could lead to them seeking out new teams in free agency, which could have a domino effect on the rest of the league. Thanks to the new NBA collective bargaining agreement, awards season just got a lot more interesting.
[Featured Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]