Arron Afflalo will turn down his player option with the Knicks for the 2016/17 season, opting to explore the free agent market in July, reports Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops and The Associated Press (Twitter link). Afflalo’s decision on his player option had been due this Wednesday.
[RELATED: Player option decisions for 2016/17]
By opting out, Afflalo will forfeit an $8MM salary for the coming season, under the assumption that he’ll be able to land a bigger deal on the open market. While there’s a possibility he’ll return to New York, plenty of teams around the NBA will have cap room and could target the veteran shooting guard as a more affordable alternative to the players who will earn max deals.
Afflalo, 30, signed with the Knicks last summer as a free agent, and averaged 33.4 minutes in 71 regular season contests for the team. Most of his averages for the 2016/17 season, including 12.8 PPG, a .443 FG%, and a .382 3PT%, were very similar to his career marks.
Even before Afflalo made his decision, the Knicks had been prioritizing backcourt additions this offseason. The club had been preparing for Afflalo to test the market, with new head coach Jeff Hornacek suggesting earlier this month that he expected the former UCLA standout to “see what’s out there.”
Meanwhile, Derrick Williams, who has a $4.598MM player option for 2016/17 and whose decision was also due by tomorrow, will also opt out of his contract, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The former second overall pick had arguably his best NBA season in 2015/16, setting career highs in points per 36 minutes (18.7), field goal percentage (.450), and a few other categories, as a part-time contributor for the Knicks.
With Afflalo and Williams no longer on the books for next season, the Knicks now have $56MM+ committed to seven players, not taking into account qualifying offers or cap holds for pending free agents. The salary cap is projected to land in the $94MM range.