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Steve Nash on Jarrett Allen: ‘He’s going to have a big contract whenever the time is.’

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Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

While a number of players in the 2017 draft class received extensions on December 21, ranging from $40 million to upwards of $195 million, one of the 2017 first-rounders who didn’t sign an extension was Jarrett Allen.

With no agreement, the 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent in 2021 - giving the Nets the ability to match any offer that lands on his desk from any other team. Expect lots of zeros.

So, Allen is playing the 2020-21 season to prove his worth. Heading into his first free agency and analyzing the lack of depth in the 2021 free agency class, he can expect a very nice return.

In particular, John Collins and Andre Drummond are his main competition at the center spot on the free-agent market. Outside of Collins, who has a bright upside and is 23-years-old, Drummond is five years older than Allen with a more condensed arc of growth.

With Allen playing for his next contract, Steve Nash believes he not only has a bright future but when the time comes for his next contract, it will be “big.”

“I haven’t talked to him about that,” Nash said. “We are focused on the season. He’s got a bright future. He is going to have a big contract whenever the time is and we are just trying to figure out who we are as a team.”

It’s no secret the Nets are staring at years of luxury tax payments - which could have been a reason Brooklyn held out on extending Allen at the deadline. To get a deeper look, Brooklyn has $140 million in guaranteed salaries. Depending on the level of NBA revenues, Joe Tsai could be paying nearly $60 million when the luxury tax bill comes due in early August. And Allen won’t be the only player with a big payday looming this summer. Spencer Dinwiddie is likely to garner big offers.

Allen is sitting comfortably with restricted free agency looming in the future. As former Nets assistant GM and current ESPN salary cap genius - Bobby Marks said in November, Allen was eyeing “Clint Capella money.” That would put him in the range of five years and $90 million.

Despite seeing a projected bench role for the majority of the season, he has not only played well two games into the season but his three-year resume holds value for his contract negotiations. In addition, Allen has progressively developed his game across multiple areas at a good pace.

Outside of his developing game, Allen has maintained durability throughout his time in Brooklyn, missing a total of 14 games in three years (two last season). Many of those 14 missed games were a result of DNP-CD’s in his rookie campaign.

Allen, who is one of the Nets’ best current bargains - sitting at $3.9 million - was highly praised by Nash following the Nets Christmas Day win in Boston. “The Fro” posted nine points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and one assist in 21 minutes off the bench, a little more than starter DeAndre Jordan ... who could be seen cheering his protégé on from the bench in the second half.

“The guy was unbelievable,” said Nash. “He was good in the first half, he was special in the second half. That’s what it’s going to take to win, especially as we’re forming here, is special efforts; and man, he was good. Defensively, protecting the rim, loose balls, rebounding at both ends, he was outstanding. We’re proud of him and he’s continuing and improving at this stage of his career.”

In other words, ca-ching.