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Let’s stop manufacturing drama over De’Aaron Fox’s extension

This is so dumb.
By | 42 Comments | Jun 24, 2024

Dec 4, 2023; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) reacts after scoring against the New Orleans Pelicans during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today I wrote a story based on a report from Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic. I focused on what I felt was the important part of the story, that the Kings are trying to trade the 13th pick and nearly trading for Alex Caruso, but the rest of the internet has latched onto a different element of the story:

Fox’s future looms in the background too, as league sources say the All-Star guard has decided not to sign an extension this year, in part, because he wants to see how the roster takes shape for the long-haul. Fox, who has two seasons left on his current deal, wants to win at the highest level and could also qualify for a significantly larger max if he makes All-NBA.

Oh no! The sky is falling! Fox is gonna leave! We’re doomed!

Feel better? Got it out of your system? Ok good. Because it’s time to use our brains again.

This quote about “wanting to see how the roster shapes up” is completely stupid. This has nothing to do with the roster and everything to do with dollars.

If Fox signed an extension this summer he would be eligible for 3 years, $167 million.

If Fox makes All-NBA this season, then next summer he will be eligible for a 4-year, $269 million extension.

It simply makes sense for Fox to wait and have the opportunity to lock in an extra $12 million per year and an extra year.

And if Fox is eligible for that contract, and the Kings are willing to give it, it doesn’t matter what the roster looks like  Fox would take the money, and then work his way elsewhere via trade down the line.

This is a stupid story and I’m annoyed I’ve had to spend this long on it. But congratulations to the Athletic, that little blurb was top-notch engagement bait.

Update:

I wrote this article in a hurry yesterday. Today I was double-checking the numbers. Keith Smith of Spotrac wrote a whole article outlining the specifics of the different extensions Fox could be eligible for, and the 4yr/$269 million isn’t even the most lucrative option.

Fox could choose to delay signing his extension by a year to add even more money, but it comes at a risk.

For one, Fox would have to be certain he could make All-NBA for the 2024-25 season (or win MVP or DPOY). If he misses out for 2024-25, Fox would no longer be eligible to sign a Designated Veteran Extension in 2025.

But let’s say he either doesn’t qualify for Designated Veteran Extension status this season, or he chooses to wait, but does qualify next season, here’s what Fox would be looking at extending for in the summer of 2025:

[…]

  • Total: five years, $348,794,600 in new money via a Designated Veteran Extension

 

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CastlePeak
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June 24, 2024 7:41 pm

It’s time to cancel my subscription to the Athletic. Been growing tired of Amick’s random drive by pokes at the Kings. Oddly he was the reason I originally signed up

jwalker1395
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June 25, 2024 6:25 am
Reply to  CastlePeak

I remember when the Athletic first debuted and sucked up every elite beat writer in the nation like Jason Jones, who I always enjoyed reading at the Bee. They put out a ton of insider content with terrific analysis from people who knew the teams intimately.

And now all we get is an occasional power-ranking or clickbait article from some national media talking head that doesn’t care to know anything about the team in the first place. It has gotten bleak, as with all “journalism” these days as media owners pivot toward engagement farming rather than in-depth analysis and storytelling.

I like Vecenie, and Amick will have a scoop every once in a while. Chams might drop a headline, but never has any substance. And God forbid that Hollinger decides to give his opinion about anything – that guy is the worst. I can’t imagine reupping my subscription once my $1/month deal expires.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 8:29 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

I pay the standard rate now. Grant Brisbee is worth the price of admission on his own, and double that if you are a Giants fan (he’s worth reading even if you are not). Vecenie delivers, I liked Hunter Patterson this past season, and Amick is solid if you can take his click bait tendencies for what they are. Back to baseball, I enjoy Jayson Stark, among others. And every now and then pieces that do not involve the Kings or MLB cross my bow and are quite enjoyable.

I think that the comment regarding Fox’s extension lacked information and context, but as I do zero social media (this site is the sum of my on line presence), I don’t get caught up in the pitchforks, torches and pearl clutching that I am sure ensued after the comment hit the airwaves. And Amick should have done better. But based on the sum of his work over the years, I’m not going to cancel him and the rest of the Athletic over this.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
June 25, 2024 8:42 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Interestingly enough, Amick article worked how it was likely intended. I’ve now seen 3 other articles on three different sites citing Amick and leading there own pieces with Fox’s “uncertain future.”

SavageBeast
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June 25, 2024 10:44 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Yep. Hate the practice, understand the $.

SavageBeast
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June 25, 2024 10:43 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Completely agree, Section. 🙂 So many sports sites are 100% clickbait or are just reposting things from real reporters. There are things about the Athletic that drive me crazy. (John Hollinger, cough, cough.) But they actually write a lot of good original pieces. Along with TKH and Silver and Black Pride, it is one of the sites I visit most.

Can I also just add how much I hate what SI has become. It went from real sports reporting to a bunch of people just reposting from other sites with clickbait headlines.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 11:32 am
Reply to  SavageBeast

SI is the poster child for the death of print media in magazine form.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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June 24, 2024 8:12 pm

If Fox makes All-NBA this season, which would be 2 of the last 3 seasons, along with last season’s All-Star selection and inaugural Jerry West Mr. Clutch honors, it means the Kings have had a Top 4 in the West, 50 win type season.

Should the Kings have a less compelling season, much like this last 82, then I would expect they bestow the All-NBA honor to others not Kingly.

It is a tough row to hoe – room for top 14 only (Domas has to be All-NBA too!). If he can break through – again – he’s earned his just reward. That he strives to attain this goal, knowing that it may be fraught with disappointment, and have small market Sacramento obstacles to overcome in addition (to appease National voters) is great to hear.

Scorliss_In_Sacramento
June 24, 2024 8:55 pm

are there other players who have only made 1 all star team that make that kind of $$?

$55-65 mil per seems way too much for a player that has had 1 great season and a couple good seasons.

Im no expert on NBA salaries so could be wrong.

BeTheBall
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June 24, 2024 9:01 pm

Different salary era, but 6 or 7 years back Tobias Harris got a ridiculous contract for never being an all-star.

NorCalKingsFan
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June 24, 2024 11:56 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

in terms of bad 76er contracts…remember Matt Geiger

NorCalKingsFan
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June 25, 2024 12:09 am

TBH, salaries from the past aren’t comparable unless you convert it to a percentage of the salary cap at the time.

There are 30 teams (or 150 starters) but only 24 All-Star spots, many great players will go several seasons without All-Star appearances even though they might’ve outplayed someone named to the All-Star game (see 2024 – AD in over Domas). All-Star selections are popularity contests, and so are many of the media produced awards.

All-Star appearances shouldn’t really care any weight in regards to whether a player should earn a certain dollar amount, it should be based on his skills and what he can bring to the team that pays him.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 10:39 am

Looking at some of the current guys, Beal has made 3 AS teams and 1 All-NBA team (3rd team) and has a max deal. Klay Thompson has 5 AS teams and 2 All NBA teams (3rd teams). Van Vleet has one AS team and no All Teams and will make over $87m over the next two seasons. Trae Young has 4 AS teams (East Coast is easier) and a 3rd team All-NBA.

Barring injury, Fox’s next contract will be a max deal. The market will demand it, even if Fox doesn’t.

SavageBeast
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June 25, 2024 10:45 am
Reply to  RobHessing

The market will demand it, even if Fox doesn’t.

Exactly.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 11:08 am
Reply to  SavageBeast

The other part of this is that Fox was the 38th highest paid player last year, and is currently sitting at 35 this year (that’s with out Siakam, Harden, Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris and DeRozan on the board yet – guessing Fox will drop to 37). Looking at it through this lens, he is a fair to good value on current contract.

Sabonis delivered a 3rd team All-NBA performance while being the 46h highest paid player last year, a screaming value. He’ll be more fairly compensated at somewhere around 23rd to 25th this coming season.

The raw dollars are nutsy cuckoo, so we probably need to frame the numbers against the rest of the NBA payroll when determining whether a contract is fair, good, poor, or an albatross.

BeTheBall
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June 24, 2024 8:56 pm

Amick loves slipping some good clickbait into his stories.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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June 24, 2024 9:02 pm

What’s DeAaron gonna do with all that money? What’s Malik gonna do with all that money? Pay alot of taxes!

Dan Houlder
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June 24, 2024 9:18 pm

comment image

AnybodyButBagley
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June 25, 2024 7:44 am

I like the idea that Fox is actually talking about a winning roster.

He might actually want to make a run at a championship?

He can get paid and chase the trophy. I doubt he makes the “All NBA” this year or ever. I hope he does for the sake of this team. I also feel quite often that this team is stuck because Fox isn’t the guy to build a team around. Fox can go elsewhere and this team can be the same or better.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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June 25, 2024 8:17 am

Fox on a mission this year. LFG!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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June 25, 2024 8:39 am

I could be mistaken, but wouldn’t Fox be eligible for a FIVE year max extension next summer, if he makes an All-NBA team? I thought once you completed 7 years in the NBA and meet the max extension critereia, including the last year of your contract (see Luka), you can sign for 5 years and not 4.

SelecaoKOJ
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June 25, 2024 10:25 am

The disconnect here. Is Fox a 270 mil player?

8th Season 2024-25
1 Playoff appearance

Great statistical numbers over the past 3 years.

This feels a lot like Bradley Beal to me.
Is Fox the type of player that can put a team on his back?

Really. 0-6 against the Pels last years tells me no. And really that’s just one glaring example.

Do you truly believe any serious contending team going to shell out that type of contract for him?

Other than the Kings?
I am in the camp No.

Most smart contending teama now see the long term ramifications of Lavine, Grant, Beal, etc.

Players that put up fantastic numbers. Yet don’t contribute significantly to winning on a consistent basis.

SavageBeast
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June 25, 2024 10:53 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I 100% believe that if Fox was on the market today, he would be offered a max deal by multiple teams. We haven’t seen him take the Kings where we’d like. But PG is such a key position in the NBA and Fox is right up there with some of the top ones. I wouldn’t put him in the top 5 right now. But almost every national PG ranking has him either in the top ten or just outside.

SavageBeast
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June 25, 2024 10:55 am
Reply to  SavageBeast

Just wanted to reply to one thing.

Yet don’t contribute significantly to winning on a consistent basis.

Not in the playoffs, yet, but trust me. Take him away from this team and our winning % would plummet. The Kings need pieces to make it deep in the playoffs. But Fox is absolutely not the problem.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 11:31 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

As I noted up in the thread, you need to get away from looking at the raw dollars and consider Fox’s income vs. the rest of the league. And currently, he is a player that – on the max contract that he can earn right now – is in the mid 30’s for compensation, which makes him a reasonably fair value. Now, he’s not the value that Keon Ellis was last year as the 512th highest player, or even Sabonis as the 46th highest paid player, but he was still no worse than a fair value to contract, and the Kings were definitely better having him than not.

Another thing to consider is that if you let Fox walk, it is not as though you are going onto the free agent market and simply replacing him. And if you are, it is historically less likely that you are replacing him with a marquis player, and more likely that you are going to spread that money around to a bunch of mid-level journeymen. And we’ve been to that party, ad nauseum.

For me, the “is he worth a max contract” convo lacks the context of how many NBA teams there are and how many are competing for post season. That is, I think that there is an argument that some make that at any time, there are no more than roughly ten players deserving of a max contract. But that is not how the NBA pay structure works. One could posit that every non-tanking team would have at least one max player, and that the top teams could have two or even three. Also, “max” is a bit of a misnomer, as there is the max that you can make on your rookie deal, the max that you can make on your second contract, the max that you can make on your third contract, and so on.

Here are some of the players making more than Fox this coming season: Gobert, Trae Young, LaVine, Van Vleet, Ben Simmons, MPJ, LaMelo Ball. To be fair, you can also find a slew of fine players making less than Fox, but a lot of that is affixed to the timing of their next contracts. But when I bounce Fox against the league, he seems very fairly paid. And yes, his next contract will be quite a jump up, but it will coincide with a league that is continually upping the salary cap (and the ticket prices that help support it).

Bottom line, you are probably left with the choice of paying Fox or letting him go, and letting him go will probably lead to years of the next rebuild, unless you are extremely fortunate and find one of those rare star for star trades.

Man, I sure have enjoyed Kings basketball for the past couple of seasons. And while I would like to see us take the next step forward (which, in my opinion, has more to do with roster construction than the play of Fox), why would we take the chance on gutting the roster by not coming to the market on De’Aaron Fox?

BuiltToSpill
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June 25, 2024 4:29 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Well said, Rob. You and Andy hit the nail on the head.

andy_sims
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June 25, 2024 11:44 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

You’re not looking at it the right way.

In a more just world, no one would make anything like fifty million dollars a year, with the possible exception of people who create vaccines/cures for various diseases, and perhaps sex workers who really bust their asses.

The number $270 million doesn’t matter. When it was $200 million, it didn’t matter, and when it becomes $500 million, it still won’t matter. It’s simply the ceiling, and it’s based on the improving fortunes of the league, primarily through the sale of media rights. As far as I’m concerned, the players should get every dime that they can, since without them, there’s no money for anyone.

The question is whether or not Fox or anyone else is a max player. As has been pointed out elsewhere, if Fox was a free agent this summer, he would have multiple teams waving a max deal at him, so in t hat regard, Fox is a max player.

What you’re asking is whether Fox is, as it relates to the Kings, a guy that you should pay full freight, now, next year, or the year after that.

My answer is yes. He is a unique player in the NBA, with unmatched speed, outstanding smarts, and rapidly improving defense. He hasn’t really hit his prime yet. If your beef is that Sacramento hasn’t won anything with him yet, I’d refer to the last two years where he’s had a teammate of equal quality in Sabonis, and the results we’ve enjoyed.

The roster still needs one more all-star-level player, and it may be some time before Keegan is that guy. Given cap constraints, it’s going to be tough to get that player, but not impossible. The cost will be considerable, but for the right deal, McNair will pay that price, and then we’ll all see how things shake out.

Regardless, none of that will impact Fox’s status as a max player.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 25, 2024 2:51 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I think we need to move on from Fox before we are stuck with Fox.

andy_sims
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June 25, 2024 10:44 am

Smart player makes smart decision.

Stupid writers formulate stupid take and publish stupid article.

You want to give Amick the benefit of the doubt, but honestly, we’re well past the point where he’s earned that kind of grace.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 25, 2024 3:14 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Why are you cancelling Amick?

Mike120
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June 25, 2024 10:53 am

$349M for 5 years equates to $851,219/game. You could buy 410 $850K homes with that. I’m all pro-capitalism but is anyone else even a little bit aggravated that we pay people that much to throw a ball in a hoop? I remember when Kirby Puckett got 3/$9M from the Twins thinking that was astronomical. I really believe the top players would play for $5M/year if that was the going rate and tickets could be $20/game.

Hobby916
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June 25, 2024 11:17 am
Reply to  Mike120

The salaries for athletes is ridiculous.

andy_sims
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June 25, 2024 11:50 am
Reply to  Hobby916

If they offend you, you should try looking at the compensation packages for CEOs at hundreds of corporations. Then consider that those people effectively create nothing of value, and are frequently bonused whether or not their company makes money.

You can’t replace basketball players at any level with AI. Does anyone believe that’s true of CEOs?

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 11:53 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Yeah, I’m having quite the go-round with Hertz right now, so I am more offended with the pay of Gil West than De’Aaron Fox.

Also, when a company like HP buys out Carly Fiorino for however many tens of millions of dollars it was, who do we think foots the bill on that? Pay Fox, and let’s talk about the cost of my printer ink.

andy_sims
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June 25, 2024 4:14 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

That lady fired a whole lot of people and ran the company into the ground, then thought, “I should run for governor.”

Credit where credit is due, though: She’s every bit as terrible as many corporate CEOs, gender be damned. She broke the glass floor.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 4:56 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

😂

jwalker1395
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June 25, 2024 11:19 am
Reply to  Mike120

My response to this kind of pocket-watching is always this: if you’re upset about what the players are making wait until you see what the owners get.

My stance has always been that every franchise is more than just the Owners, FO, Coaches and Players – it’s the people who make your popcorn, fix the lights, run the audio, sweep up after the game, etc. This is a multi-billion dollar league and if there’s enough money to give players a third of a billion dollars over 5 years, there’s enough to pay a living wage and provide quality benefits to every man and woman that makes the gamedays run smoothly. If their wages and benefits go up, then there is less leftover (but still more than enough) for players’ and owners’ income.

Working class people may not be the ones putting butts in the seats, but they are quite literally the ones who sell the tickets. Nothing exists without them.

Last edited 26 days ago by Jacob Walker
RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 11:34 am
Reply to  Mike120

I’m all pro-capitalism but is anyone else even a little bit aggravated that we pay people that much to throw a ball in a hoop? 

Compared to what Taylor Swift makes? No.

Compared to what Jerry Seinfeld makes? No.

Compared to what Mark Cuban makes? No.

CorlissWinlesson
June 25, 2024 10:59 am

Subject Line made me laugh “This is so dumb.”

I’ll give Fox the benefit of the doubt here. He’s loyal in my book, and respect him for the effort he puts in on the court night in and night out.

Off season sports writers are so desperate in the modern economy to get clicks they’ll do anything garner eyeballs. It’s like social media, gross but addicting when bored at work

Keep the momentum going Kings, failing to take a step forward and maintaining our core is not a step back if the goal is to win a championship. No way we had anywhere close to a Championship team last year, and in all honesty I don’t see it next year.

I don’t know this for certain, but didn’t the Celtics get to where they are by fleecing teams in trades which led to a plethora of draft picks? Then combining those with some solid FA pickups like Porzingis and Holiday?

Kings fans are coming to games, keep building and don’t make desperate moves IMO

-Casual fan who watches lots of games but doesn’t know much about broader NBA

AnybodyButBagley
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June 25, 2024 2:59 pm

Openly talking about improving the roster is loyal to himself and to the fanbase of this team. I appreciate that loyalty.

Cashing max deal paychecks while floating aimlessly in the middle to bottom half of the Western conference is criminal at this point.

RobHessing
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June 25, 2024 4:57 pm

So he should say no to the market? I respectfully disagree.

AnybodyButBagley
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June 25, 2024 10:36 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

He should and is saying yes to the market at this point. I respect and appreciate the fact that he is openly saying that the roster needs to improve. That shows a commitment to winning and a desire to do more than cash checks.

Manipulating the system to get a max deal and simply cashing checks is criminal from this fans standpoint. See James Harden.

Fox has rarely publicly said anything about the need to improve this roster. As the supposed franchise player he has gone with the flow. Speaking out shows maturity, leadership, and a real desire to win.

I think we respectfully agree.

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