Next year’s free agent class won’t be nearly as star studded as it could have been, as Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick examines. The preponderance of long-term deals ran counter to the logic that players would flock instead to one-year contracts to take advantage of the surging salary cap next summer, projected to come in at $89MM, a giant leap from this year’s $70MM. A few notable exceptions are apparent among the free agents signing one-year contracts this month, but in large measure, players chose to lock in money for the long-term rather than bet on the 2016 market.
Other free agents made a modified play for the short term. Those who negotiated player options for 2016/17 in their contracts have two seasons of salary coming their way if they want, but, if their performance doesn’t decline and they stay healthy, they’ll be in position to opt out and receive a chunk of the vast sums that teams will have to give. The first name on this list will almost certainly take advantage of that, as LeBron James is in line for a projected max salary of $29.3MM in 2016/17. The names of all the free agents who signed contracts this month that include player options for 2016/17 are below, with the values of their respective player options, rounded to the nearest $1K, in parentheses.
- LeBron James, Cavaliers ($24.004MM)
- Arron Afflalo, Knicks ($8MM)
- Deron Williams, Mavericks ($5.6MM)
- Tim Duncan, Spurs ($5MM, estimated)
- Derrick Williams, Knicks ($4.598MM)
- Austin Rivers, Clippers ($3.344MM)
- Brandon Bass, Lakers ($3.135MM)
- Manu Ginobili, Spurs ($2.941MM)
- Jeremy Lin, Hornets ($2.235MM)
- Mo Williams, Cavaliers ($2.195MM)
- Wayne Ellington, Nets ($1.568MM)
- Andrea Bargnani, Nets ($1.551MM)
- Caron Butler, Kings ($1.551MM, estimated)
- Shane Larkin, Nets ($1.5MM)
- Alonzo Gee, Pelicans ($1.375MM, estimated)
- Cole Aldrich, Clippers ($1.227MM)
- Wesley Johnson, Clippers ($1.227MM)
- Thomas Robinson, Nets ($1.051MM)
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.