NBA Who Opt Out and Who Opt In

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Many renowned NBA players were allowed before July 1 to activate a clause in their contract allowing them to stay one more season in their team. LeBron James Al Jefferson, what have they decided?

They will be free:

Portland trail Blazers: Arron Afflalo
Brooklyn Nets: Alan Anderson, Thaddeus Young, Brook Lopez
Milwaukee Bucks: Jared Dudley
Miami Heat: Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade
Dallas Mavericks: Monta Ellis
Cleveland Caveliers: LeBron James, JR Smith, Kevin Love
Denver Nuggets: Jameer Nelson
Washington Wizards: Paul Pierce
Indiana Pacers: David West

All have made the same decision, to sit on their last year of contract. But there are as many reasons as there are players. On one side there are those who do the logical thing, changing teams, like Monta Ellis, he signed for three years with Dallas in 2013, with a final installment at $ 8.7 million (€ 7.8 million). Problem: the Dallas Mavericks do not want him, despite an undeniable talent. On the opposite end, if David West wants to leave Indiana, he’s on his own. He had a flirtatious last year ($ 12.6 million, € 11.3 million) with the Pacers who appreciated him, but he wants a final challenge, at 34 years old, even if he earn less. He should soon meet the Knicks.

There are also those who do not want to move but want to sign a new long term contract right now. As per the very informed Adrian Wojnarowski, that would be the case of the interior duo Nets Thaddeus Young  & Brook Lopez. They were respectively 10.2 and reached a $16.7 million (9.1 and € 14.9 million) in 2015-2016, but both hope to sign over four years period to a 48 and $ 60 million (48.9 and 53 6 M €). Lopez, however, should receive other offers, like that of his former Bucks coach Jason Kidd. But the Nets have a big advantage, authorized by a regulation that promotes stability: they can offer him more money than other franchises, and over a longer period.

LeBron James is still the case:

LeBron James should re-sign a new contract with a clause to be free again in 2016.
It is for the same reason that Miami is very confident in the prospect of re-signing Goran Dragic. The Heat is the only one able to offer Slovenian a five-year contract known as $80 million, (€71.5 million), while others are limited to four years. Nevertheless, this argument is not always decisive. Some players are questioning without closing the door nor to a new team, nor to an extension. They feel the need to test the market, to know when the situation will be the best, just like Paul Pierce and Dwyane Wade.

Obviously, the King will not leave Cleveland. If he has drawn a line under $21.6 million (€19.3 million), one of the ten largest contracts in the league, it is to re-sign a contract a little more important. This should include a “player option” again in 2016. And again, if he does not activate it then he can negotiate a much higher contract. Why? Because a new TV contract will come into effect ($2.7 billion per year!) With a consequent increase in the salary cap. And than, it’s a rumour that he could sign $34.5 million for the year. It would be unheard of.

They remain in their team:

Miami Heat:  Luol Deng
Dallas Mavericks: Raymond Felton
New Orleans Pelicans: Eric Gordon
Menphis Grizzlies: Jeff Green
Indiana Pacers:
Roy Hibbert
Chicago Bulls:
Kirk Hinrich
Charlotte Hornets:
Al Jefferson

The list of those who have decided to activate their clause is less prestigious. The reason is simple: they are often players who reach the end of a big contract they negotiated several years ago, when they were performing. A player like Eric Gordon had signed a huge contract in 2012, as he stepped out of two seasons with more than 20 points. Since then he has often been injured and if he sat on his last year at $15.5 million (€ 13.9 million), He would probably have to divide his salary by two elsewhere.  He’s better off waiting a year.

Sometimes the player’s decision to stay does not help his team. Indiana did not want to keep Roy Hibbert, a pivot of 2.18m that does not match the fast game pace of the team. But they will have to make do. As Miami with Luol Deng, while the Heat has drafted the ideal player to replace him, Justise Winslow. And it is not because a player wants to remain in his team that all goes smoothly, Steve Blake and Gerald Henderson just to experienced it: shortly after deciding to activate their clause, they were transferred. Business is business.

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