Rival's contract extension provides ultimate motivation to Warriors' rising star

Orlando Magic v Golden State Warriors
Orlando Magic v Golden State Warriors / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

When the dust settles on the Golden State Warriors offseason and their roster is essentially finalized, much attention will turn to the future of Jonathan Kuminga who is extension eligible ahead of his fourth year.

Kuminga remains in trade speculation after an impressive third season, but the Warriors appear eager to keep their rising young star after they reportedly resisted the temptation to include him in a deal for 9x All-Star Paul George.

Franz Wagner's huge contract extension in Orlando provides the ultimate motivation for Golden State Warriors' forward Jonathan Kuminga

All eyes are now on whether Golden State will include Kuminga in a potential deal for Lauri Markkanen, with the franchise fixated on the 2023 All-Star after missing out on George. Whether it's at the Warriors or elsewhere, the former seventh overall pick is in for quite the pay day beyond the $7.6 million he'll make next season.

Not that Kuminga should need any extra motivation, but the deal handed out to Orlando Magic forward Franz Wagner on Friday should provide the 21-year-old with a blueprint of where his value may lie.

Wagner signed a five-year, $224 million rookie extension with the Magic in a deal that could balloon to $269 million if he makes an All-NBA team, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kuminga and Wagner have often been compared after being taken back-to-back with the seventh and eighth picks in the 2021 NBA Draft. The latter has been the more consistent proven performer in the first three years -- perhaps largely down to opportunity -- but their comparative statistics from the second half of last season suggest Kuminga could also yield a max extension.

From January 1 onwards, Kuminga averaged 18.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting 54.3% from the floor and 34.8% from three-point range. In the same period Wagner also averaged exactly 18.6 points, adding 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 49.7% from the field and 27.7% from beyond the arc.

If Kuminga remains with Golden State deeper into the offseason, it may be worth trying to get in front of the situation by offering him a lesser deal in the short-term rather than wait to see how next season plays out.

Perhaps the Warriors could offer Kuminga a four-year deal in the range of $120-130 million. While that may be a risk in itself, it could pay off if he continues his development into a max-level player next season.