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Offer Sheets To Watch

Restricted free agents that have agreed to sign offer sheets with new teams can begin doing so as soon as 11:00pm CST tonight. When a player officially signs an offer sheet, his old team has a three-day window to decide whether or not to match it and bring him back.

When a player formally signs an offer sheet, it means only two options are in play for him: He either ends up on the team whose offer he signed, or returns to his old club. Sign-and-trades are no longer an option. So, for restricted free agents like Eric Gordon and Nicolas Batum, who seem to prefer to change teams, it may be worthwhile to explore sign-and-trade possibilities once more before locking into those offer sheets and putting their futures in the hands of the Hornets and Trail Blazers, respectively.

Here are a few restricted free agents that reportedly agreed to sign offer sheets whose situations are worth keeping an eye on:

Roy Hibbert
Current team: Pacers
Agreed to sign with: Trail Blazers
Terms: Four years, Maximum salary
It sounds as if Hibbert may not even ink an offer sheet with the Trail Blazers after all. With the Pacers planning to match the deal, it makes more sense for Hibbert to just sign outright with Indiana. That way, perhaps the team could tack on a non-guaranteed fifth year — at the very least, it would give the Pacers increased flexibility to try to improve the roster around him.

Eric Gordon
Current team: Hornets
Agreed to sign with: Suns
Terms: Four years, Maximum salary
It seems Gordon's clear preference is to play with the Suns. After agreeing to the team's offer sheet, he released a statement indicating that "Phoenix is where my heart is now," and later told the Times Picayune that if the Hornets match the offer, he'll play in New Orleans, but won't be happy about it. It's a tough spot for the Hornets, who clearly don't want to lose the primary piece of last year's Chris Paul trade, but also probably don't want an unhappy player in New Orleans long-term. Maybe these two teams could negotiate a sign-and-trade, but I'd expect the Hornets to simply match the Suns' offer sheet and hope Gordon warms to New Orleans. John Reid of the Times Picayune confirmed today that New Orleans is expected to match the offer.

Nicolas Batum
Current team: Trail Blazers
Agreed to sign with: Timberwolves
Terms: Four years, $45MM
While Batum, like Gordon, appears to want to move on from his current team, it seems Batum's agent Bouna Ndiaye is pushing that stance more than the player himself, as his comments over the weekend suggested. Still, Batum told David Aldridge of TNT today that Minnesota is where he wants to be. Batum also mentioned, interestingly, that the two teams are working on a possible sign-and-trade deal. According to one earlier report, the T-Wolves pitched a sign-and-trade deal involving Derrick Williams, but the Blazers weren't interested in a trade involving the younger, more affordable Williams. I wouldn't be surprised if Portland reconsiders that stance before all is said and done — a sign-and-trade that sends Batum to Minnesota and Williams to Portland could be a win-win for the involved teams and players alike.

Jeremy Lin
Current team: Knicks
Agreed to sign with: Rockets
Terms: Four years, $28.8MM (fourth-year team option)
We've already heard that the Knicks, predictably, are expected to match this offer sheet. Another team could have more pressure on New York with a more significant third-year raise and a guaranteed fourth year, so the Knicks will get off relatively easy when they match this offer.

Omer Asik
Current team: Bulls
Agreed to sign with: Rockets
Terms: Three years, $25.1MM
Here's a trickier case. The Bulls have said all year that they don't want to lose Asik and that they expect to match any offer for him, but Daryl Morey and the Rockets are making it difficult with a third-year salary of nearly $15MM. Still, I think there's a good chance the Bulls match this offer sheet. Asik's first- and second-year salaries are in the $5MM range, which is manageable, and allows the Bulls a couple seasons to figure out how to clear long-term salary off their books for 2014/15. This decision could easily go either way though.

Landry Fields
Current team: Knicks
Agreed to sign with: Raptors
Terms: Three years, $19MM
When Fields and the Raptors agreed to this offer sheet, it seemed like a savvy tactical move to block the Knicks from making a sign-and-trade deal for Steve Nash. Now, with Nash headed to Los Angeles, it just looks like an overpay. The Knicks are unlikely to match this one, so the Raptors are likely stuck with Fields, but that's not the end of the world for Toronto. Fields just turned 24, and while he experienced a bit of a sophomore slump in 2011/12, he still has the makings of a solid, if slightly overpriced, rotation player.


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One thought on “Offer Sheets To Watch

  1. Gonzalesv

    why dont the raptors just withdraw their offer of fields .. and please houston withdraw your offer on osik and if the knicks want to match any offer then make it harder for them and give lin a bigger offer sheet ..

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