For some of this summer's free agents, hitting the market meant landing a significant raise, or at least landing another salary in line with a player's previous pay rate. But of course, not all of the offseason's free agents were so lucky.
Due to declining skill, decreasing demand for certain skill-sets, a willingness to take a discount to land in the right situation, or a combination of all of the above, plenty of players signed for a much smaller salary for 2013/14 than they earned in 2012/13. Here's a breakdown of the free agents taking pay cuts of $5MM+ for the coming season:
In addition to the players who have already signed deals, a few free agents who earned big salaries a year ago remain on the market, and are mortal locks to take pay cuts of more than $5MM. Here's that list:
The players listed above represent the guys taking the most significant pay cuts, but there are a few other free agents deserving of an honorable mention — or a dishonorable mention, depending on your perspective.
Andrew Bynum, coming off a $16,889,000 salary, is in line for $12,250,000 if he remains on the Cavs' roster for the full season. That in itself represents a pretty noticeable decrease in salary, but Bynum's pay cut could be even more significant, since only $6MM of his salary is guaranteed. If the Cavs release him before his deal becomes fully guaranteed, he'd be taking a pay cut of more than $10MM, putting him at the top of this list.
A pair of amnestied players are also technically taking major pay cuts this year, as Elton Brand's and Baron Davis' salaries are no longer being paid by their old teams. Still, since Davis was out of the NBA last year, and the Mavericks paid Brand a modest $2,100,500 salary, their salaries for cap and tax purposes aren't undergoing major changes from '12/13 to '13/14.
Other notables include Chris Kaman, Francisco Garcia, Nick Young, and Jose Calderon, who all took pay cuts of $4MM+, as well as Luke Walton and Daniel Gibson, who remain unsigned after earning about $6.09MM and $4.79MM respectively.