Front of­fice must con­sider rich ex­ten­sion for Booker

The Arizona Republic - - Azcentral Sports - SCOTT BORDOW Suns guard Devin Booker stretches dur­ing the third quar­ter in a pre­sea­son game against the Trail Blaz­ers on Wed­nes­day. Booker is el­i­gi­ble for a con­tract ex­ten­sion af­ter this sea­son, and could be in line for a big raise in salary.

Suns fans: Did you pay much at­ten­tion to the five-year, $148 million con­tract ex­ten­sions re­cently signed by Philadel­phia 76ers cen­ter Joel Em­biid and Min­nesota Tim­ber­wolves forward An­drew Wig­gins?

You should have, be­cause next sum­mer the Suns could be an­nounc­ing a sim­i­lar deal for shoot­ing guard Devin Booker.

Booker, who av­er­aged 22.1 points per game last sea­son, is el­i­gi­ble for a con­tract ex­ten­sion af­ter the 2017-18 sea­son.

“Ob­vi­ously every­body knows it’s out there,” Booker said, adding that he and his agent, Leon Rose, who also is Em­biid’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive, have not had any dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing his con­tract.

Here’s how it would work: A five-year ex­ten­sion would kick in start­ing with the 2019-20 sea­son (Phoenix would pick up its team op­tion on Booker for the 2018-19 sea­son).

Booker’s salary could be 25 per­cent of the salary cap, which is pro­jected to be $108 million in 2019-20. (Booker could earn 30 per­cent of the cap if he makes an All-NBA team or is named De­fen­sive Player of the Year.)

His first-year salary, us­ing the 25 per­cent bench­mark, would be $27 million. As­sum­ing he re­ceives the max­i­mum eight per­cent raise each year based on the first-year salary, the five-year deal would be worth $156.6 million.

The an­nual salaries:

» 2019-20: $27 million

» 2020-21: $29.16 million

» 2021-22: $31.320 million

» 2022-23: $33.480 million

» 2023-24: $35.640 million

The ob­vi­ous up­side to the five-year ex­ten­sion is that it would keep Booker, one of the game’s bet­ter young play­ers, in a Suns uni­form through 2024.

Asked about a pos­si­ble ex­ten­sion for Booker, Man­ag­ing Gen­eral Part­ner Robert Sarver said, “I’m not go­ing to an­swer that.” But, he added, “Devin is work­ing on his game and he’s de­ter­mined to take his game to the next level. I would love to be in a po­si­tion to do that.”

Booker, who re­cently said one of the rea­sons he ad­mires Michael Jor­dan and Kobe Bryant is that they played their en­tire ca­reer with one team — with the ex­cep­tion of Jor­dan’s two-year stint with Wash­ing­ton — said he would love to sign an ex­ten­sion if of­fered next sum­mer.

“I’ve been treated right from the day I was drafted, even when I was a rookie and didn’t play much,” he said. “The city of Phoenix took me in with open arms and made me a part of their fam­ily. I’ve learned the his­tory and tra­di­tions of the team. I know how much the city cares about the fran­chise and that means a lot to me, play­ing some­where where peo­ple ac­tu­ally care about the fran­chise.

“I love it here, I bought a house here and I in­tend to be here for a long time.”

The Suns will have room un­der the salary cap to ab­sorb an ex­ten­sion for Booker. The con­tracts of Eric Bled­soe, Tyson Chan­dler and Jared Dud­ley all come off the books af­ter the 2018-19 sea­son, free­ing up about $38 million in salary.

In­jury up­date

Booker, who missed Wed­nes­day’s pre­sea­son game with a sore left knee, will play in the pre­sea­son fi­nale on Fri­day against the Bris­bane Bul­lets, coach Earl Wat­son said.

Wat­son said Booker was a full par­tic­i­pant in Thurs­day’s prac­tice.

In other in­jury news, small forward T.J. War­ren, who’s been side­lined the last two games with a back con­tu­sion, was lim­ited in prac­tice Thurs­day and Wat­son said he’s un­sure if War­ren will be able to play on Fri­day.

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