The deadline to sign an early extension for a number of Kings players is October 31. The players who do not ink an extensions will become a restricted free agent in 2014. Any extension signed between now and the end of October goes into effect for the 2014-15 season.
Here are those eligible players and my current thinking on whether they get deals.
The big tuna. Cousins would very much like to join his buddy John Wall in the Max Early Extension Club, but it's looking less likely as the offseason wears on. To his credit, Cousins' agent (Dan Fegan, who also reps Wall) is not using the power of public appeal to get the deal. This has been a private negotiating period, if the sides are even negotiating at all. Things could heat up as we slip through September and closer to the deadline, but there's no real rush. The worst that could happen to the Kings' position is that Cousins has a spectacular preseason, and that's a nice problem to have.
My hunch is that he doesn't get the extension, has asolid season with fewer suspensions and gets a fat deal to stay in Sacramento in 2014.
The Kings' new front office liked him enough to bring him in via the Tyreke Evans deal. If he's not the opening day starter, he'll be given every opportunity to compete for that spot. Part of me thinks the "two seconds ahead" front office could ink him up to an extension once his ankle checks out just fine. Vasquez showed last season that he's a spectacular passer, and that's quite a useful trait when the rest of the core including a low-efficiency big man and a rookie shooter. The only problem with pegging Vasquez as the starter is the next man on this list.
Still, a Vasquez extension would be a surprise. Not a stunner, per se, but a surprise. He's basically sight unseen here coming off of one really nice season.
UPDATE: Isaiah isn't actually eligible for an early extension due to having just two years of service time. Thanks pookey for the correction. I regret the error.
And finally ...
An even bigger mystery than the above three guys. He could be the starting power forward ... or he could be the second big man off of the bench. He could be a Most Improved (curse its name) candidate by improving his rebounding and taking more of his shots from the beyond the arc, or he could be lost in the rotation. I have no doubt that Mike Malone has an idea of how he'd like to use Pat-Pat, and I'm sure he's communicated this to Pete D'Alessandro. But I think how that works out during the season is too much of a question mark to extend Patterson right now.
The good news for the Kings with regards to all four candidates is that any one of them that explodes this season without an extension will still be restricted, so Sacramento will be able to match signed offer sheets. But as we know, the early extension often offers the best chance at a good deal. The front office has some major decisions ahead this month and next.