When Ronny Turiaf signed with the Heat for the stretch run last season, he inked a deal that included a minimum-salary player option for 2012/13. At the time of the signing, the option was referred to as an "insurance policy" for Turiaf. Presumably, if he'd suffered a major injury that would hinder his ability to land a new contract this summer, he could have picked up the option and still earned a salary for the year.
Turiaf didn't play particularly well for the Heat late in the regular season and in the playoffs, but he stayed healthy and ultimately declined the option. And this offseason, plenty of free agents have signed deals that appear similar in structure to Turiaf's — two-year contracts with a second-year player option. In many cases, those options seem cheap enough that they're likely to be declined if the player stays healthy and is at least relatively productive this season. But in the event of an injury or a sharp decline in productivity, the option serves as a safety net.
Listed below are this offseason's free agents that signed two-year deals with second-year player options. The value of the 2013/14 option is in parentheses.
- Ray Allen, Heat ($3.23MM)
- Jerryd Bayless, Grizzlies ($3.14MM)
- Aaron Brooks, Kings ($3.4MM)
- Kwame Brown, 76ers ($2.95MM)
- Boris Diaw, Spurs ($4.7MM)
- Aaron Gray, Raptors ($2.69MM)
- Kirk Hinrich, Bulls ($4.06MM)
- Andrei Kirilenko, Timberwolves ($10.22MM)
- Carl Landry, Warriors ($4MM)
- Rashard Lewis, Heat ($1.4MM)
- O.J. Mayo, Mavericks ($4.2MM)
- Jodie Meeks, Lakers ($1.58MM)
- Patrick Mills, Spurs ($1.13MM)
- Brandon Rush, Warriors ($4MM)
- J.R. Smith, Knicks ($2.93MM)
- Marreese Speights, Grizzlies ($4.52MM)
- C.J. Watson ($1.11MM)