Front office must consider rich extension for Booker
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.
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.