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Largest Expiring Contracts For 2015/16

Expiring contracts aren’t what they used to be. The shorter contracts that have come about in the past few years thanks to new rules imposed in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement have meant more teams have the opportunity to open cap space each year, and thus the utility of trading for a player in the last year of his contract has decreased. That’s even more so now, with the salary cap expected to skyrocket each of the next two summers. Most teams are poised to start next summer under the cap, and many are set for the amount of cap space necessary to sign a maximum-salary free agent. Still, expiring contracts can be assets.

The Celtics acquired a pair of talented big men this summer in David Lee and Amir Johnson. Neither is a superstar, but they can help Boston remain competitive this season and come off the books in a year to allow the Celtics more flexibility to chase free agents who do fit the franchise player mold. Johnson’s is a de facto expiring contract of sorts, since his 2016/17 salary is non-guaranteed.

No team has two expiring deals quite like the Lakers do. Kobe Bryant and Roy Hibbert will combine to make more than $40MM this season, but they aren’t promised any salary for 2016/17, positioning L.A. to strike in free agency next July. The trade for Hibbert was much like the moves Boston made. The Lakers acquired a productive player on an expiring contract who can help prop up the team for a year without tying themselves to any long-term commitment to a non-star.

See each player who has an expiring contract with a salary of greater than $10MM for this season in the list below:

  1. *Kobe Bryant, Lakers — $25MM (contract contains no-trade clause)
  2. Joe Johnson, Nets — $24,894,863
  3. Kevin Durant, Thunder — $20,158,622
  4. *Dwyane Wade, Heat — $20MM (de facto no-trade clause)
  5. Roy Hibbert, Lakers — $15,592,216
  6. Eric Gordon, Pelicans — $15,514,031
  7. David Lee, Celtics — $15,493,680
  8. Al Jefferson, Hornets — $13.5MM
  9. Joakim Noah, Bulls — $13.4MM
  10. Nicolas Batum, Hornets — $13,125,306
  11. Nene, Wizards — $13MM
  12. ^Ty Lawson, Rockets — $12,404,495
  13. Al Horford, Hawks — $12MM
  14. ^Amir Johnson, Celtics — $12MM
  15. Luol Deng, Heat — $10,151,612
  16. Gerald Wallace, Sixers — $10,105,855

* — Bryant and Wade possess no-trade clauses in their contracts. In Wade’s case, it’s a de facto no-trade clause, since all players who re-sign with their teams on one-year contracts can block trades.
^ — Lawson and Johnson are on de facto expiring contracts, since their salaries for 2016/17 are non-guaranteed.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Aside from Kevin Durant’s, for obvious reasons, which of these contracts would you most want your team to possess? Leave a comment to let us know.

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2 thoughts on “Largest Expiring Contracts For 2015/16

  1. Chris Crouse

    Probably Al Horford’s, although the fact that it’s expiring means I am going to have to pay him market value next year. For him it’s probably the Max.

    Next to Horford, I’d say Amir Johnson 12MM on an expiring deal. If he works out in Boston, they can basically re-up with him on the same expiring deal. It’s a pretty nice team-friendly contract.

    • Jacob Jackson

      I love Amir Johnson’s deal, and Lawson’s for the same reason. Credit to Morey* and Ainge – two of the best GMs in the game – for getting that coveted ‘optionality’ for next offseason. Both of them have built rosters that – through a combination of non-guaranteed deals and pending RFAs with low cap holds – will give them tons of options next offseason.
      If a star wants to sign with Boston or Houston, they can cut Lawson or Amir Johnson loose with no cost and fit the star into cap space. If they strike out on star FAs, they bring back an above-average player, highly motivated on a one-year commitment in his prime.

      *i realize Morey didn’t sign Lawson to his current deal, but he’s the reason it’s a non-guaranteed final year now.

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