Expiring contracts aren’t what they used to be in the NBA. Once sought-after trade chips, players who are in the final season of a lucrative deal are no longer as valuable under the current collective bargaining agreement, which mandates shorter contracts that help teams more easily clear cap space each year.
Still, these types of deals remain commodities for some teams. The Warriors last year shipped three expiring contracts, including two with a combined value of more than $20MM for Richard Jefferson and Andris Biedrins, to the Jazz in a three-team deal that netted Andre Iguodala. Golden State had been over the cap and was thus unable to sign Iguodala outright, so the expiring deals, which Utah could write off after just a year, came in quite handy for the Warriors.
The Wizards used Emeka Okafor‘s nearly $14.488MM expiring contract last season to trade with the Suns for Marcin Gortat, who became a key part of Washington’s playoff run. Okafor never played for the Suns, but his contract came off the books at season’s end, and Phoenix netted a first-round pick for its trouble. The Okafor contract is nonetheless also representative of the declining value of such deals, since the Suns were unable to find a palatable swap that would allow them to flip Okafor at the trade deadline in February.
There are currently 10 expiring contracts valued in excess of $10MM, and Amar’e Stoudemire‘s massive deal leads them all. The Knicks have reportedly engaged in discussions with the Sixers, the only team close to enough cap space to take Stoudemire on without giving back salary in return, but no deal has materialized. Stoudemire’s deal would have been difficult to move even in the days when teams coveted expiring contracts.
Others among these 10 aren’t likely to be going anywhere, as LaMarcus Aldridge has pledged allegiance to the Trail Blazers and Tim Duncan almost certainly will never play for a team other than the Spurs. Kevin Garnett possesses one of the NBA’s few no-trade clauses, one that’s still in effect even though he gave his blessing to the Celtics/Nets trade last year. Still, Tyson Chandler has already been traded once this summer, and Rajon Rondo‘s name has been connected to trade rumors for more than a year now. Here are the 10 most lucrative expiring contracts, in descending order of value, with the figures rounded to the nearest $1K.
- Amar’e Stoudemire, Knicks ($23.411MM)
- Rudy Gay, Kings ($19.317MM)
- LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers ($16.006MM)
- Marc Gasol, Grizzlies ($15.83MM)
- Tyson Chandler, Mavericks ($14.847MM)
- Rajon Rondo, Celtics ($12.909MM)
- Kevin Garnett, Nets ($12MM)
- Andrea Bargnani, Knicks ($11.5MM)
- DeAndre Jordan, Clippers ($11.440MM)
- Tim Duncan, Spurs ($10.361MM)
The 12 next most expensive expiring contracts offer a few more likely trade candidates. Marcus Thornton, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin have all been traded already this offseason, and there have been rumors about Tayshaun Prince. Steve Nash might be poised to reprise the injured Okafor’s role in a similar trade this year, since it’s unclear whether Nash will be healthy enough to play. This list includes Jordan Hill, whose two-year deal was a de facto expiring contract from the moment he signed it, since the second season is a team option. It also features Anderson Varejao and Amir Johnson, whose partially guaranteed contracts would allow any team that trades for them to pocket immediate savings rather than waiting for next summer.
- Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers ($9.705MM) — partially guaranteed for 2014/15
- Steve Nash, Lakers ($9.701MM)
- Paul Millsap, Hawks ($9.5MM)
- Kendrick Perkins, Thunder ($9.404MM)
- Jordan Hill, Lakers ($9MM) — $9MM team option for 2015/16
- Marcus Thornton, Celtics ($8.575MM)
- Omer Asik, Pelicans ($8.375MM)
- Jeremy Lin, Lakers ($8.375MM)
- Tayshaun Prince, Grizzlies ($7.708MM)
- Wesley Matthews, Trail Blazers ($7.246MM)
- Manu Ginobili, Spurs ($7MM)
- Amir Johnson, Raptors ($7MM) — partially guaranteed for 2014/15
ShamSports was used in the creation of this post.