Eric Maynor. Remember him?
Maynor is seeking an extension to his rookie contract with the Thunder, just like Serge Ibaka and James Harden. However, Maynor's name often gets dropped when trying to decipher the Thunder's trilogy of contracts.
Retaining Maynor ranks third among the trio, but he is not a throwaway player. He unquestionably has worth.
Ibaka has signed a four-year extension, reportedly for $48 million.
Given the Ibaka result, Harden is mulling over an extension offer presumably in the $50-million range right now. How high that figure goes between now and the Oct. 31 deadline remains to be seen.
If Harden does not accept the Thunder's offer before the league deadline, he will become a restricted free agent next summer and likely will be extended a maximum four-year offer for roughly $60 million from the Phoenix Suns — or some other team in need of a starting shooting guard.
What about Maynor? In what future financial neighborhood will he reside? Will it be $14 million for four years? $16 million? $18 million? Higher? Lower?
The last game Maynor played was Jan. 7 in Houston, where he was carried off the court after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament while driving to the basket.
There was no contact on the play. Maynor's right leg simply buckled.
“I knew something was wrong,” Maynor said to describe the sequence. “It's big-time pain, man.”
Teammates huddled around Maynor as team doctors tended to him underneath the basket. A pall noticeably had been cast throughout the entire roster.
“Not a good day,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “That's the day you don't want to remember.”
Though his career averages are modest (15.2 minutes; 4.5 points; 3.1 assists; 1.5 rebounds; 0.5 steals; .408 FG), Maynor is appreciated and beloved within the organization. His career assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.04-to-1 would have ranked seventh in the NBA last season. His career 3-point field-goal percentage of .353 warrants respect from opponents.
A fourth-year player out of Virginia Commonwealth, Maynor is a point guard most any NBA team would want as a backup, some as a starter. The 25-year-old has a calming influence normally found in players far more experienced.
Maynor backs up two-time All-Star Russell Westbrook, one of the league's fastest players. Maynor's motor doesn't run at nearly the same rpm as Westbrook's, but there often is little dip in the team's overall effectiveness.
With Maynor on the floor, scoring spreads and ball movement increases. Westbrook has his role, Maynor has his, and both often work, which is a big reason why the Thunder is where it is today.
Extending Maynor's contract might not be financially feasible given Ibaka's deal and what Harden's potential deal could be.
Maynor's agent, Andrew Vye, refused to discuss how negotiations are progressing and said the No. 1 priority is for his client to complete his recovery and return to the court when Thunder training camp opens Oct. 2.
Given the seriousness of Maynor's injury, negotiations likely won't begin in earnest until he has shown full recovery during the season. This also would mean Maynor won't sign before Oct. 31 and would become a restricted free agent next summer, becoming eligible for qualifying offers the Thunder would have to match in order to retain him in 2013-14.
One aspect to consider is whether Reggie Jackson's emergence during the Orlando Summer League in July has made Maynor more expendable.
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Jackson is more athletic and explosive than the 6-foot-3, 175-pound Maynor, who counters with intangibles any team would want.
Maynor has what Thunder general manager Sam Presti adores — the willingness to compete, the drive to improve and the ability to represent the organization in a favorable manner.
Maynor's future with the Thunder unfortunately is about the bottom line, whether there will be enough space to squeeze in what figures to be a modest pay raise, comparatively speaking. Maynor will make $2,338,720 this season.
If Harden signs, is Maynor gone?
If Harden does not sign, will Maynor stay?
What would it mean if Maynor signed before Harden?
Is Maynor gone either way?
Signing all three players would put the Thunder in the league's expensive luxury tax bracket.
Signing Ibaka and Maynor would save $13 million-plus annually that would have gone to Harden.
Signing Ibaka only would show faith in Jackson.
If Harden departs, the Thunder could shop for a shooting guard with a salary topping out around $8 million annually.
Potential free agents in that proximity could include Orlando's JJ Redick, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Brooklyn's MarShon Brooks.