Top 3 New Free Agents For 2023 Who Failed To Sign Extensions

The deadline for handing out rookie extensions for the 2019 Draft Class has come and gone. 

And while there were some major signings this offseason, including the max extensions for the likes of Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, other big contracts handed out to Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro and RJ Barrett, plus the last-minute deal done yesterday with De'Andre Hunter, there are some very good young players who didn't get a deal. And they will all become restricted free agents after the season.

Here are three of the top names on that RFA list:

Cam Johnson, Phoenix Suns

Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that the Phoenix Suns were on track to lock up their new starting power forward with a rookie extension. In fact, that might have been one of the reasons that led to the spurned former starter Jae Crowder to ask for a trade. But for some reason, a deal with Johnson didn't get done.

The No. 11 pick in the 2019 Draft class will now become an RFA after the season and in the meantime, he won't be letting it bother him.

“Kinda just moving on," said Johnson today. "Either way, I’m excited to play this year. It doesn’t change anything about what’s going on now, it doesn’t change my approach.” Certainly a much better public approach than the one that his teammate Deandre Ayton showed last year at this time, when he was furious he didn't get his bag at the time.

Grant Williams, Boston Celtics

No word on how close these talks came, but Williams and the Boston Celtics just couldn't get it done. The 22nd pick in the 2019 Draft has become a high-end rotation player for Boston, but it's apparent the two sides couldn't agree on what his value is, contractually at least. 

Williams apparently felt a responsibility to players around the league, in his role as vice president of the player's union, to not take a below-market deal. 

"It's one of those things that, you never want to take a bad deal for no one around you ... the role that I play as VP of the player's association, you understand where the league is going in the future and where the league is currently at.

“I wasn’t moving off of what I wanted,” Williams said. “And I don’t think they were either." 

Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers

The defensive specialist lost a bit of his shine with a lackluster playoff performance, particularly after being forced to sit out the first-round games in Toronto due to his choice to be unvaccinated. 

His D is crucial to what the Sixers do—he led the league in deflections per-36 mins last season—but his inability to add the "three" to his "D" could cost him in his contract year. 

Thybulle has made just 32% of his threes since entering the NBA in 2019. 

Other notable names who'll become unrestricted free agents after failing to land an extension include Cam Reddish of the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets' PJ Washington, Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards and Coby White of the Chicago Bulls.

Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports