While unrestricted free agents have been scoring record contracts this summer, many of their restricted counterparts have been waiting for the phone to ring.
Once the free agent frenzy was unleashed shortly after midnight on July 1st, most teams were reluctant to tie up cap room for three days while waiting to see if an offer sheet would be matched.
The Nets were an exception. Their offers brought huge paydays for Tyler Johnson and Allen Crabbe, but neither wound up in Brooklyn. The Heat matched Johnson’s offer and the Trail Blazers did the same with Crabbe’s as the Nets saw both players slip away in one day.
Johnson and Crabbe may have cashed in, along with Miles Plumlee, who signed a four-year deal this week worth more than $50MM, and Boban Marjanovic, who got $21MM over three years from the Pistons, but the market hasn’t been kind to many others. Nobody wanted Jared Sullinger until the Celtics rescinded his qualifying offer, and he would up taking $6MM for one season in Toronto. Dion Waiters was in the same situation in Oklahoma City before his qualifying offer was pulled on Monday.
Three weeks into free agency, three restricted free agents remain on the market. The Rockets’ Donatas Motiejunas would like to stay in Houston, but says he’s talking to “a couple of teams.” The Blazers’ Maurice Harkless also wants to stay with his team, but has seen little progress on a new deal. The Celtics’ Tyler Zeller is in limbo as he waits to see if Boston can put together a blockbuster trade.
As Kevin O’Connor of CSNNE notes, there are only seven teams remaining with enough cap space to make a significant offer, and none has an obvious need for help on the front line. The market for restricted free agent big men started out slow and may already have dried up.
That brings us to tonight’s question: What do you foresee for Motiejunas, Harkless and Zeller? Will any of their teams come through with a Plumlee-like deal? Will another team give them the offer sheet they’ve been hoping for? Or will they accept their qualifying offers and try free agency next summer whey they’re unrestricted?
Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.