The Orlando Magic have until Wednesday at 11:59 PM to extend the contract of fourth-year power forward Ryan Anderson--the NBA's deadline for members of the 2008 draft class--but Otis Smith said he has no plans to do so. "We still have the right of first refusal because he'd be a restricted free agent," the Magic's President of Basketball Operations told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. "It could backfire, and we could have to pay more. But that's the risk we've chosen to take."
A report Friday indicated Anderson was among the "most likely" 2008 draftees to earn a contract extension prior to Wednesday's deadline.
Anderson is enjoying the most successful season of his career, ranking second on the team in scoring (16.4 points per game) and in rebounding (6.8 rebounds per game) through Tuesday's matchup against the Indiana Pacers. It's likely the 23-year-old will receive an offer sheet well into eight figures.
Smith told Robbins the uncertainty surrounding Dwight Howard's future with the franchise contributed to his decision not to extend Anderson's contract. This course of action "helps maintain some flexibility," as Robbins writes.
In the last three offseasons, two Magic players have hit restricted free agency: Marcin Gortat in 2009 and J.J. Redick in 2010. Orlando matched the offer on both occasions, though it did wind up trading Gortat less than six months after doing so.