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Just because a player is both productive and a free agent doesn't mean he deserves to be offered a max extension. NBA franchises get in trouble when they overvalue a player and pay him the maximum money.
Teams need to be aware of a few things before signing a player to a max deal:
1. How highly do teams around the league value this player?
2. Where does this player rank among others playing the same position?
3. Is the player an injury risk, e.g. Brandon Roy?
4. Is the player entering or on the downside of his prime?
5. Ultimately, does this player signed for big money bring you closer to winning an NBA championship?
These players, all of them good and at the moment set to be free agents in the summer of 2013, should not be offered max deals. Of course, knowing NBA general managers, a number of these guys will be offered max deals.
Andre Iguodala (Early Termination Option)
Great player, but a classic case of a guy who's an All-Star and not a superstar. You can win a NBA championship with Iguodala, just not with him as your franchise cornerstone.
Josh Smith (Unrestricted)
Smith has always been under-appreciated. Early on Smith could be worth the max, but he has the potential to become an untradeable contract quickly. Anytime you tie a lot of money into an older player who relies on his athleticism to be effective, it's a red flag.
Al Jefferson (Unrestricted)
Similar to Roy Hibbert, Jefferson will benefit from being one of only a handful of competent big men in the NBA.
Stephen Curry (Restricted)
Curry has been a good player thus far in his career but has yet to show he's worthy of a max deal. Being a restricted free agent will help Curry's cause. As we saw this summer with Hibbert, Nic Batum and Jeremy Lin, being a restricted free agent can be nice for the final dollar amount.
Tyreke Evans (Restricted)
If Evans were drafted by a different team, maybe he could have been a max player. This player's growth has been handled terribly by the Sacramento Kings. Instead of worrying about money, Evans should worry about finding himself the right situation.
Monta Ellis (ETO)
There's no denying Ellis' talent, but has he proven his playing style will ever translate to postseason success? Right now the answer is a definite no.