Under the league's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, free agents can be offered up to five years by a team holding their Bird Rights, or four years by any other team. It's not often that we see a free agent receive that maximum number of years, as long-term deals are generally reserved for elite or near-elite players. However, so far in July 2012, we've seen nine free agents signed for as many years as possible. Let's check out the list, with the help of Hoops Rumors' Free Agent Tracker….
- Deron Williams (Nets): Five years, $98.77MM
- George Hill (Pacers): Five years, $40MM
- Ersan Ilyasova (Bucks): Five years, $40MM
- Jason Thompson (Kings): Five years, $30.19MM
- Ryan Anderson (Hornets): Four years, $34MM
- Goran Dragic (Suns): Four years, $30MM
- Jamal Crawford (Clippers): Four years, $21.35MM
- Ian Mahinmi (Pacers): Four years, $16MM
- Steve Novak (Knicks): Four years, $15MM
The max-year deal for Williams, who is the only player on this list to receive a maximum salary as well, is no surprise, but there are some interesting names among the other eight. Milwaukee and Sacramento aren't prime free agent destinations, so I would guess the Bucks and Kings had to go to five years for Ilyasova and Thompson respectively to ward off other suitors. The Pacers, known for maintaining cap flexibility, inked a pair of long-term deals here, though neither one should be overly expensive or unmovable. And while four years for Crawford is pretty surprising, the third and fourth years only include small guarantees ($1.5MM each).
A couple more notes:
- Brook Lopez, Eric Gordon, Roy Hibbert, Gerald Wallace, and Jeff Green remained with their current teams on four-years deals, but could have been offered a fifth year. Novak, on the other hand, was ineligible for a fifth year because the Knicks only held his Early Bird Rights, so the four years he received were his max.
- Blake Griffin isn't a free agent this summer, but he signed a maximum extension to remain with the Clippers for another five seasons after this one.