Jeremy Lamb shuns restricted free agency for extension with Hornets

The Charlotte Hornets are on course to sign swingman Jeremy Lamb to a contract extension for three years and $21 million before Monday's midnight deadline for such extensions, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com on Sunday night that the Hornets and Lamb are close to finalizing the deal.

The window for former first-round picks to sign contract extensions during the fourth and final year of their rookie contracts is two days longer than normal this season because the usual Oct. 31 deadline fell on a weekend.

In recent weeks, both Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes mutually agreed with their respective teams to put off contract talks until the summer, meaning both will become restricted free agents on July 1.

All indications, as of Sunday night, were that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Warriors center Festus Ezeli will be joining Drummond and Barnes as restricted free agents come July, barring an unexpected late U-turn in negotiations.

Sources say the Wizards have been consistent in their message to Beal that they see him as a huge part of their future, but want to hold off on re-signing him until next summer -- just as the San Antonio Spurs did a year ago at this time with star swingman Kawhi Leonard -- because the delay will create additional salary-cap space for them in the summer of 2016. That's when Washington hopes to be at the front of the line of suitors pursuing Oklahoma City Thunder star (and DC native) Kevin Durant in free agency.

Lamb was the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft by the Houston Rockets and spent the past three seasons in Oklahoma City after going to the Thunder as part of the James Harden megatrade in October 2012. The Hornets acquired him in late June in a trade for Luke Ridnour and a 2016 second-round pick. Lamb will be just 27 when he returns to free agency in the summer of 2019 after his new deal runs its course.

Lamb is poised to on Monday become the sixth eligible player at the end of their rookie scale contracts to have secured an extension since the negotiating window opened July 1. Fellow All-Stars and franchise cornerstones Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard scored lucrative five-year max deals from New Orleans and Portland, respectively, while Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas (four years, $64 million), Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (four years, $52 million) and Milwaukee's John Henson (four years, $44 million) also landed extensions.

Other players known to still be in negotiations entering the deadline day for extensions include Raptors swingman Terrence Ross, Trail Blazers big man Meyers Leonard and Thunder guard Dion Waiters.

But extensions, sources said, were looking unlikely entering the 11th hour for Ezeli, Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten and the Boston Celtics' duo of Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger. Yahoo! Sports reported recently that Rockets forwards Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas, like Drummond and Barnes, already know they're headed for restricted free agency next summer.