Over the weekend, a group of youngsters got paid.
Saturday was the NBA's contract extension deadline for players on the last guaranteed year of their rookie deals. A small group of guys drafted in 2011 — with the exception of Ricky Rubio, who was drafted in 2009 but didn't come over until 2011 — inked new deals at the very last second, avoiding the stress of restricted free agency.
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That said, there is a positive for those like Kawhai Leonard, last year's Finals MVP, who ultimately didn't sign an extension with the San Antonio Spurs. The NBA's new TV deal with ESPN and Turner Sports was a big one, jumping from $930 million to $2.6 billion. With that will come more revenue for the league, and eventually, more money in the pockets of the players by way of a bigger salary cap and (most likely) a higher max contract ceiling.
While the deal will not come into effect for another couple years, it may be in the best interest of many players from this draft class to simply take their team's qualifying offers and wait it until the real payday happens. Still, understandably, some preferred to get paid and get paid now. Let's take a look at how their negotiations shaped up: