Chris Andersen will opt out of his minimum-salary contract and become a free agent this summer, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The Birdman re-signed with the Heat in 2013 to a two-year deal that included a player option for the second season. Today’s news doesn’t necessarily mean that Andersen will leave the Heat, or even that he’ll wind up with a higher salary, since he took less than market value to stay with Miami last summer. Still, it appears as though the client of Mark Bryant will explore his options as the future of the Heat’s roster is in flux.
Andersen, who’ll turn 36 next month, scored 6.6 points per game this past season, the second-highest total of his 12-year career. He also averaged 5.3 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per contest with an 18.5 PER as Miami’s first big man off the bench.
The Heat have his Early Bird rights, meaning they can sign him for a starting salary of up to 104.5% of the league average salary, which will likely come in around $6MM. It’s unlikely he’ll merit that much, but he’s probably earned a raise on the minimum. Taking another minimum-salary deal would help Miami keep its team together, but given Andersen’s advanced age, I’m not so sure he’ll be willing to pass up another opportunity to cash in. Still, his decision to opt out does the Heat a small favor, since his cap hold will be $915,243, compared to the $1,448,490 he’d take up on Miami’s balance sheet were he to opt in.