Jonathan Kuminga

Warriors now can start negotiating Kuminga, Moody rookie extensions

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It is an important time for two of the Warriors' top young players, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody.

No, that isn't because of the potential for one or both of them to be included in a trade for Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen.

Starting Saturday, the Warriors can negotiate rookie extensions with Kuminga and Moody, who were both lottery picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. With both players now entering the final year of their rookie contracts, Golden State doesn't have much time to decide on their potential futures.

The deadline for each contract extension is the final day before the start of the 2024-25 NBA regular season -- typically sometime in late October. If the Warriors can't agree to a deal with Kuminga and/or Moody by that cutoff date, the player will become a restricted free agent next offseason.

A player being a restricted free agent means they are free to sign an offer sheet with any organization, but their original team has the right to match that deal and retain the player. So, even if the Warriors can't extend Kuminga or Moody this offseason, they are guaranteed the chance to keep them next year.

Over the last two weeks, both Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors and Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic signed rookie max extensions worth at least $224 million over five seasons. Both were lottery picks alongside Kuminga and Moody in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Kuminga doesn't quite have the résumé of either Barnes or Wagner, so the Warriors are probably less inclined to give him the same deal. However, those contracts give a pretty good indication of the type of deal Kuminga is looking for this offseason, which likely is approaching $35-40 million per year.

Meanwhile, Moody hasn't had as much playing time on an older Golden State roster, though he might also command a contract of $20 million per year or more if the Warriors envision him as a cornerstone piece of their future.

The good news for Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy and the team's front office is the NBA salary cap has the potential to boom over the next several years, which would open up more room to keep both players. Of course, that's if Golden State doesn't choose to trade either player this offseason in the first place.

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