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What a Tyrese Maxey Extension Could Look Like

With news that James Harden could miss a month, Boardroom explores how Tyrese Maxey could increase his chances of earning a maximum rookie-scale contract extension this offseason.

Let’s get this out of the way now: Tyrese Maxey is already an elite basketball player.

So when news of James Harden’s foot injury broke Thursday, it wasn’t a call to action for the third-year guard out of Kentucky. Maxey has shown out this season to the tune of 24.2 points per game with career-high marks in shooting from both inside the arc (51.6%) and out (46.8%). I mean, just look at his lines from his last five games played:

  • 31 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
  • 44 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
  • 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
  • 28 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
  • 32 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists

Again, Maxey didn’t need an injury to his backcourt mate in order to put the league on notice. He was already doing that, dating back to last season when he stepped in for Ben Simmons to average 17.5 points and 4.3 assists.

But Harden’s injury does open the door for Maxey to further cement himself as a central piece to the 76ers‘ future. In turn, the speedster can fatten his wallet even more, with him being extension eligible after the season.

Boardroom explores what an extension could look like for Maxey.

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Tyrese Maxey Extension Comparables

Before getting into anything, first, a definition:

A rookie-scale contract extension can be for up to five years when the player has one year left on his rookie-scale deal. The starting salary for those deals would have to be at least 25% of that year’s salary cap. One important distinction here is that this doesn’t apply to players who enter restricted free agency before re-signing.

With that in mind, there are two recent rookie-scale extensions that could prove similar to what Maxey could rake in. Below are the respective deals for RJ Barrett and Tyler Herro, which they each signed ahead of the regular season:

RJ Barrett

Years: 4
Total Value: $120,000,000
Average annual value: $26,750,000
Guaranteed at signing: $107,000,000
Free agency: 2027
Previous contract: 4 years, $35,596,275

Tyler Herro

Years: 4
Total Value: $130,000,000
Average annual value: $32,500,000
Guaranteed at signing: $120,000,000
Free agency: 2027
Previous contract: 4 years, $17,188,836

Due to their production and their career trajectories, neither Barrett nor Herro signed for the full max value. Barrett is roughly $40 million below what he could’ve signed for at the max level, while Herro signed for around $30 million less. However, this is assuming they reach the full values of their deals; both contain a decent chunk of incentives to get there. This is especially the case for Barrett, whose guaranteed value sits at just $107 million. Even if he hits all his incentives, that would bring him up to “just” Herro’s guaranteed amount.

For a time, it felt like Maxey would also be in this camp — up for a hefty raise but not quite a max-level player. This is especially true considering where the players were taken in their respective drafts: Barrett at 3, Herro at 13, and Maxey at 21.

However, his numbers over the last season-plus have been better than both Barrett’s and Herro’s to date. He’s already put himself on the radar with performances like his 44-point effort against the Raptors last week, in which he made nine 3-pointers. But in the next month without Harden, he can show Philadelphia why he deserves the full five-year maximum extension.

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Outlining the Maxey Max

If the Sixers are smart, they’ll offer just that. With the NBA’s media rights deal set to expire after the 2024-25 season and the salary cap expected to jump each of the next few years, there are a lot of unknown variables that could make one wary of signing a five-year maximum extension.

In other words, Philadelphia better not mess around and negotiate with a player who could be its future centerpiece just to save a couple of bucks when it could instead lock him up for the next six seasons (the final year of his rookie-scale deal + the five-year extension). This is especially true when considering the assets Philly has sold to assemble the current team, not to mention the health and age of Joel Embiid.

(To be clear: Embiid is currently in his prime and played a career-high 68 games last season. But in six years, the MVP candidate will be 34, with a lot more wear and tear on a body that hasn’t been kind to him as it is. Maxey is THAT important.)

Regardless of if they reach an agreement on an extension, Maxey’s salary for 2023-24 is already set at $4,343,920. For our purposes, however, let’s say they do settle on one in the upcoming offseason. And for the sake of being conservative, let’s set the hypothetical 2024-25 salary cap at $140 million. This is just $6 million more than what it will be for 2023-24 and a decent chunk lower than the mid-to-high $140 million range that’s been reported.

With those parameters set, the first year of Maxey’s new extension — 2024-25 — could earn him roughly $35 million to start. Should the team give him the Rose Rule maximum deal, allowing him to earn up to 30% of the cap by making an All-NBA team, that could rise to $42 million. These numbers are notable because while it marks the 25% and 30% caps of the salary that season, should the cap rise as expected after a new media rights deal is signed — the current one is set to expire after 2024-25 — they’ll be well below those percentages by the time the latter years of his contract roll round.

For reference, the salary cap could reach as high as $171 million in 2025-26, according to reports. Who knows what it’ll look like for 2026-27 and beyond?

And while this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, take Trae Young’s recent selection to the All-NBA team as an example of what the Rose Rule could do.

YearOld SalaryNew Salary

This is circling back to the main point of how Maxey could help himself in the next month sans Harden. As previously mentioned, Maxey is already an elite player and deserving of a sizable extension, if not a maximum one. But in the same breath, his qualifying for an All-NBA team doesn’t seem likely for the 2022-23 season … yet.

However, if he’s able to carry this team in Harden’s absence, continuing to build a confidence that seemingly hasn’t stopped growing since Day 1, by the time 2023-24 rolls around — the last campaign in which he could trigger the Rose Rule — All-NBA may not be out of the question.

Again, there are a lot of unknowns still on the table, and hopefully, by the time the two sides begin negotiations, there will be a clearer picture. But whether it’s for the full rookie-scale maximum extension or something closer to what Barrett or Herro received this offseason is up to how Maxey plays not only this next month but throughout the rest of the season.

After outplaying out his rookie deal in what may be one of the most undervalued contracts in the league, Maxey deserves a handsome increase. And if his recent trajectory tells us anything, this should be a no-brainer for Philadelphia. Give him the max.

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About The Author
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams
Griffin Adams is an Editor at Boardroom. He's had previous stints with The Athletic and Catena Media, and has also seen his work appear in publications such as USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and MLB.com. A University of Utah graduate, he can be seen obnoxiously cheering on the Utes on Saturdays and is known to Trust The Process as a loyal Philadelphia 76ers fan.