2013/14 NBA Free Agents

Eastern Notes: Knicks, Udrih, Trade Candidates, Wizards

According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, 87.5% of the teams at the top of their division on Christmas Day in the past four years have ended the season still in first place. These odds of making the playoffs shouldn’t come as a surprise to the fans of the Heat, Pacers, Spurs, Thunder, or Clippers but may be odds Trail Blazer or Raptor fans want to hold onto.

A few notes in the Eastern Conference regarding teams that don’t have very good playoff odds.

  • It was no Christmas surprise that the Knicks are quickly unraveling this season. Following a double digit blowout to the Thunder, Brian Windhorst of ESPN compared the Knicks continuous offseason mistakes to those of the Thunder’s offseason successes. The Knicks address their transactions with a “think big” mentality which has caused them to whiff big by chasing, and missing, expensive free agents. On the contrary, the Thunder have thought small and invested in young talent through the draft. Windhorst claims the Knicks aren’t planning to stop this cycle anytime soon either as they are now looking at expensive names in their near future such as Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Roy Hibbert, Marc Gasol, Tony Parker or re-signing Carmelo Anthony,
  • Speaking of Knicks unraveling, what sold Beno Udrih on signing as a free agent with the Knicks was the opportunity to play in a two point guard lineup with Raymond Felton. Udrih told The Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring (Twitter link) this selling point has yet to come to fruition with the Knicks even when Felton was healthy.
  • Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld.com looked forward to the six NBA players who are most likely to move teams in 2014. The list includes Omer Asik, Kyle Lowry, Jimmer Fredette, Dion Waiters, Iman Shumpert and an assortment of Sixers players.
  • Emir Preldzic, whose NBA rights are held by the Wizards, has extended his contract with Turkey’s Fenerbache Ulker through the 2016/17 season, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.

Carmelo’s Future Is Predictable

All eyes appear to be on Carmelo Anthony of late as he grows to be one of the hottest commodities this upcoming offseason.

While Carmelo is under contract with the Knicks through next season, next year’s salary is an early termination option which Carmelo has already expressed he plans to exercise this summer. In February, the Knicks could negotiate to extend Carmelo’s contract but Carmelo asked the Knicks on the first day of training camp to not discuss an extension. In November, Carmelo backed down from his previous statements and said he hopes to retire with the Knicks. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith contradicted that statement this week reporting Anthony had already decided to leave New York. Carmelo adamantly denied that report.

Contradicting reports leave Anthony’s future uncertain but ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst says Carmelo’s past actions show he is in New York to stay. Windhorst points out that Carmelo has approached his NBA career with the mindset to look out for himself first and capture as much money as he can during his short career.

In 2006, Anthony refused to gamble $20MM in guaranteed money and took a five-year max salary deal instead of the three year extension LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh took. Before that contract expired, Carmelo demanded a trade to the team he wanted to play for the following year as a free agent. Being traded to the Knicks allowed Anthony to sign a more favorable extension than he would have received in free agency. And again, at the beginning of this season, Carmelo said he will exercise his early termination option to become a free agent. Another move that will bring Anthony more money.

This favors the Knicks as they will be able to re-sign Carmelo for an extra year and $30MM more than any other team in the league. If Anthony continues to make his decisions based on money – New York is where he will retire.

That is, unless he demands to be traded this season or to be signed and traded next offseason. Sam Smith of Bulls.com thinks Knicks fans shouldn’t worry about these options.

Smith says the Knicks are very unlikely to trade him this season because they know how much Carmelo values the extra year and $30MM. Carmelo will be 34 at the end of his next contract so he and the Knicks realize this is likely his last chance to capture a max deal. The Knicks think this motivation will force Carmelo to re-sign with them this offseason.

The Knicks are also unlikely to complete a sign-and-trade since Carmelo’s bargaining power appears weak. Carmelo can’t threaten to sign with another team in free agency for less money when his track record shows otherwise and another contract beyond this one doesn’t appear imminent. Windhorst also points out that the Knicks dug quite a deep hole to obtain Anthony and no fair value will be available for the Knicks to get in return via trade.

2013/14 NBA Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Up until now, we’d been grouping players with non-guaranteed contracts for 2013/14 in with our list of current free agents, but with more and more players accepting camp invites, it’s time to give non-guaranteed players their own page.

Listed below are all the players believed to have non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts for 2013/14. Most of these players won’t be assured of their full-season salaries unless they remain on an NBA roster beyond January 7th, but deals that will become guaranteed before that date are noted on our guarantee schedule.

There are many players who have reportedly accepted camp invites from NBA teams, but who haven’t been officially announced by those clubs. For the most part, we’ll include those players below, but if the initial report was ambiguous, we’ll hold off for now. For instance, immediately after the June draft, it was reported that Rodney Williams had reached a deal with the 76ers, but it’s not clear yet if that was just for Summer League play, or for training camp as well.

For other signings, such as Lance Thomasnew deal with the Pelicans, a contract was reported to include a partial guarantee for ’13/14. However, until the specifics of those guarantees are reported, we won’t include them below. So players like Thomas, Ronnie Brewer, and Elias Harris, who are believed to be on partially guaranteed contracts, are simply listed below as non-guaranteed for now.

Unless otherwise indicated, these contracts are minimum-salary deals. Camp invites are considered to be fully non-guaranteed summer contracts. This list, which will be continually updated, can be found on the right-hand sidebar under “Hoops Rumors Features” at any time. If you have any corrections or omissions, please contact us.

Updated 1-7-13

  • 76ers: None
  • Bobcats: None
  • Bucks: None
  • Bulls: None
  • Cavaliers: None
  • Celtics: None
  • Clippers: None
  • Grizzlies: None
  • Hawks: None
  • Heat: None
  • Jazz: None
  • Kings: None
  • Knicks: None
  • Lakers: None
  • Magic: None
  • Mavericks: None
  • Nets: None
  • Nuggets: None
  • Pacers: None
  • Pelicans: None
  • Pistons: None
  • Raptors: None
  • Rockets: None
  • Spurs: None
  • Suns: None
  • Thunder: None
  • Timberwolves: None
  • Trail Blazers: None
  • Warriors: None
  • Wizards: None

HoopsWorld and ShamSports were used in the creation of this post.

2013 NBA Free Agency Primer

NBA free agency officially begins at 11:01pm CST tonight, at which point teams are permitted to talk to and negotiate with other clubs' free agents. However, most free agent contracts can't officially be signed until July 10th, due to the July moratorium. Our explanation of the July moratorium is one link you'll want to check out as you prepare for the 2013 free agent period. Here are a few more:

  • Hoops Rumors has a complete list of this summer's free agents, sorted by position. Our list also include players on non-guaranteed contracts, who may or may not be waived in the coming weeks. For a timeline on when those decisions are due, check out our schedule of contract guarantee dates.
  • You can follow free agent agreements using our 2013 Free Agent Tracker, which allows you to sort by a number of variables, including position, team, years, dollars, and more.
  • A number of players got the Free Agent Stock Watch treatment, as Hoops Rumors writers examined potential suitors and salary expectations for many of this year's key free agents.
  • We also took a more in-depth look at the free agent market, by position: Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard, and Point Guard.
  • Over the last couple months, we previewed the upcoming offseason for all 30 NBA teams right here.
  • Our glossary has explanations for a number of terms and concepts that will come up over the next few weeks. Among them: Bird Rights, Early Bird Rights, Mid-Level Exception, Cap Holds, Sign-And-Trades, and Traded Player Exception.
  • I rounded up all the decisions on 2013/14 team and player options in one place.
  • Teams who have yet to use their amnesty provision will have a week in July to do so, once the moratorium is lifted. Here's a refresher on how the process works, which clubs can still amnesty a player, and which players are eligible.
  • My lists of Western and Eastern teams with potential cap space for a maximum-salary player were written in March, so some teams have made roster moves since then to change their cap outlook. But most of the clubs mentioned should still have plenty of space available.
  • I also explored max-contract scenarios for a few of this summer's top free agents.

Hoops Rumors’ 2013 Free Agent Tracker

With free agency set to officially get underway in a matter of hours, and news and rumors already swirling. Hoops Rumors is here to help you keep track of which player is heading to which team this July. We've got a new version of a feature we introduced last season: Our Free Agent Tracker. Using our tracker, you can quickly sort through the offseason's 2013 contract agreements, sorting by team, position, free agent type, and a handful of other variables.

A few notes on the tracker:

  • During the July moratorium (July 1st-9th), most of the information you'll find in the tracker will reflect contract agreements, rather than finalized deals. As signings become official, we'll continue to update and modify the data as needed.
  • Similarly, contract years and dollars will be based on what's been reported to date, so in some cases those amounts will be approximations rather than official figures. Salaries aren't necessarily fully guaranteed either.
  • Restricted free agents will be listed under the team that has extended them a qualifying offer, or the team that has signed them to an offer sheet. However, they won't officially be classified as "signed" until their original team has formally decided to match or pass on that offer sheet (or re-signed them outright)

Our 2013 Free Agent Tracker can be found anytime on the right sidebar under "Hoops Rumors Features" and will be updated throughout the offseason, so be sure to check back for the latest info. If you have any corrections, please let us know right here.

2013/14 Team And Player Option Decisions

Now that Shawn Marion has elected to opt into the final year of his contract, no more decisions remain on 2013/14 NBA options. Every player with a team option, a player option, or an early termination option is now set to either head for free agency or return to his team for one more season.

There's still a chance that some of the players listed below as having declined options could change their minds. For player options, the player only has to file paperwork if he decides to pick up the option — there's no formal procedure for turning it down. So if someone has a last minute change of heart, that paperwork could still be filed by the end of the month. But based on reports to date, we shouldn't expect any changes from this list.

Listed below are the player, early termination, and team options for the 2013/14 season, along with the respective teams, salaries, and decisions.

Ray Allen (Heat) – $3.23MM: Exercised
Trevor Ariza (Wizards) – $7.73MM: Exercised
Jerryd Bayless (Grizzlies) – $3.14MM: Exercised
Kwame Brown (76ers) – $2.95MM: Exercised
Boris Diaw (Spurs) – $4.7MM: Exercised
Ben Gordon (Bobcats) – $13.2MM: Exercised
Aaron Gray (Raptors) – $2.69MM: Exercised
Richard Jefferson (Warriors) – $11.05MM: Exercised
James Jones (Heat) – $1.5MM: Exercised
Andrei Kirilenko (Timberwolves) – $10.22MM: Declined
Linas Kleiza (Raptors) – $4.6MM: Exercised
Carl Landry (Warriors) – $4MM: Declined
Rashard Lewis (Heat) – $1.4MM: Exercised
O.J. Mayo (Mavericks) – $4.2MM: Declined
Patty Mills (Spurs) – $1.13MM: Exercised
Brandon Rush (Warriors) – $4MM: Exercised
J.R. Smith (Knicks) – $2.93MM: Declined
Marreese Speights (Cavaliers) – $4.52MM: Declined
Charlie Villanueva (Pistons) – $8.58MM: Exercised
C.J. Watson (Nets) – $1.11MM: Declined

Early Termination
Andris Biedrins (Warriors) – $9MM: Declined/Opted In
Monta Ellis (Bucks) – $11MM: Exercised/Opted Out
Andre Iguodala (Nuggets) – $16.15MM: Exercised/Opted Out
Shawn Marion (Mavericks) – $9.32MM: Declined/Opted In
Emeka Okafor (Wizards) – $14.49MM: Declined/Opted In
Marvin Williams (Jazz) – $7.5MM: Declined/Opted In
Metta World Peace (Lakers) – $7.73MM: Declined/Opted In

Gustavo Ayon (Bucks) – $1.5MM: Exercised1
Mario Chalmers
(Heat) – $4MM: Exercised
Dante Cunningham (Timberwolves) – $2.18MM: Exercised
Francisco Garcia (Rockets) – $6.4MM: Declined
John Lucas III (Raptors) – $1.57MM: Declined
Jodie Meeks (Lakers) – $1.55MM: Exercised

1 Ayon's contract remains non-guaranteed until July 25th.

Odds & Ends: Jay-Z, Salary Cap, Free Agency

Here are some odds and ends from around the NBA as we wind down on this Tuesday night:

  • In HoopsWorld's daily NBA PM feature, Yannis Koutroupis writes that Jay-Z, between his relationships with the NBA's stars and the respect he gets amongst America's youth, could become a "serious force in quick fashion" as he enters the realm of the sports agency.  Koutroupis also hits on the Pacers coping to life without Granger and the Knicks thriving with a healthy roster. 
  • ESPN's salary cap guru Larry Coon separates about half of the NBA's teams into four tiers in his latest Insiders only piece; big spenders, low-tax teams, just below the [luxury] tax line and teams with big cap room.  It looks like the new CBA rules will harshy impact the Heat, Knicks and Lakers, while the Cavaliers, Pistons, Jazz and Hawks are in good shape to make an offseason splash. 
  • Moke Hamilton of Sheridan Hoops releases version 5.0 of his free agency rankings, within which Kenyon Martin and Andray Blatche have slid into the 11 and 15 spots respectively, and bumped Manu Ginobili and Andrew Bynum from the list. 

Odds & Ends: Free Agency, Draft, Marketability

As more teams are eliminated from playoff contention, fans will undoubtedly turn some of their attention to this summer's free agent crop and draft, looking for a quick-fix that will land their team back in the playoffs next year.  As a result, we are sure to see an increase in the publication of free agency and draft rankings.  Let's look at a few lists here, as well as some other notes from around the league:

  • Amin Elhassan, formerly of the Suns front office, ranks this summer's top 30 free agents for ESPN Insiders based on the average annual value (AAV) that he believes the player deserves.  Among other things, Elhassan says that he considered the following factors: age, injury history, value of recent comparable player contracts, irreplaceability of skill set, contribution to winning, history of production, fit with style and culture, marketability and current cap situation.  
  • Also from ESPN, Israel Gutierrez and a panel from the TrueHoop Network break down how some of the offseason's top free agents compare to one another.  Of the five presented comparisons, the only consensus is that Brandon Jennings is more valuable than his teammate Monta Ellis
  • We saw a pair of underclassmen declare their intent to enter the draft earlier today.  Jeff Goodman of CBS gives his take on which of the other underclassmen should follow suit.  The players have until April 16 to reverse their declaration if they want to maintain their college eligibility.  Also, Goodman links to his early entry tracker
  • Jonathan Givony tweets that his Draft Express Top 100 was updated today, with the players headed back to school removed.  Hoops Rumors' Prospect Profile series page is sorted based on Givony's rankings, and should become more complete every week as we approach the June 27 draft date. 
  • David Aldridge of NBA.com gives his take on the point guards that will be available in June's draft, concluding that while there isn't a Kyrie Irving-type of star within the crop, there are plenty of solid pros available.  The strength of this draft has consistently been downplayed throughout the year, but we are now starting to see more experts, like Aldridge, suggest that what it lacks in star power, the crop makes up for in depth. 
  • Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops releases his first mock draft, projecting a top three of Nerlens Noel, Marcus Smart and Ben McLemore.
  • There's uneasiness among executives regarding
    the marketability of the NBA going forward, along with a "healthy"
    level of doubt about incoming commissioner Adam Silver, according
    to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who wonders
    whether tanking and side stories are overshadowing the games.

Max Contract Scenarios For 2013 Free Agents

Two players in this summer's free agent class, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, are considered locks to earn maximum-salary contracts. Two other free-agents-to-be, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings, aren't necessarily viewed as maximum-caliber players, but still may receive max offers from a desperate team. Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum is no longer a certainty for a max deal due to health concerns, though it's not out of the question that a club rolls the dice on him.

While these five players will all be in the "max-contract" discussion this summer, CBA rules dictate that if all five guys were to receive maximum offers, none of them would be earning the same amount. A specific player's maximum salary is determined by a number of factors, including service time, previous salary, and the league's basketball related income.

In determining exactly what maximum-salary offers for these five players would look like, let's first consider service time. The NBA's maximum salary is divided into three groups when it comes to service time — players with 1-6 years of experience are eligible for a smaller max than players with 7-9 years of experience, who in turn are eligible for less than veterans that have played 10 years or more. Of our five marquee free-agents-to-be, only Jennings has fewer than seven years' experience. Howard, Paul, Bynum, and Smith were all members of either the 2004 or 2005 draft class, meaning they each fall into that 7-9 range.

As I outlined last July, the maximum salary for players with 7-9 years of experience in 2012/13 was $16,402,500. However, Howard, Paul, and Bynum all earned salaries higher than that amount this season. How? Well, long-term contracts allow players to exceed the maximum in future seasons as long as the first year of the contract adheres to the max. Howard, Paul, and Bynum are all in the final year of long-term deals, so they're all earning well above the max by now.

Because those three players are already earning more than the max, CBA rules ensure that they won't have to take a pay cut next season — their respective maximum salaries will be worth 105% of this season's salary. For instance, Howard is earning $19,536,360 this season. 105% of that amount is $20,513,178, which will be the maximum salary he can earn for 2013/14.

Because they kept Howard through the trade deadline, the Lakers retain D12's Bird Rights, meaning they're allowed to offer him up to five years, with 7.5% raises. The same goes for the Clippers and Paul, as well as the Sixers and Bynum. As such, here's what maximum offers for these three guys would look like:


Rival teams with the necessary cap space or the ability to sign-and-trade would be able to offer Howard, Paul, and Bynum contracts for up to four years, with only 4.5% raises. Here's what those offers would look like:


As the charts show, the drop-off in guaranteed money from a max five-year deal is signficant. I'm skeptical Bynum will receive a max offer this summer, but let's consider Howard's and Paul's scenarios. Signing with a team besides the Lakers or Clippers, respectively, would take $30MM+ in guaranteed money off the table for Howard, and $27MM+ for Paul. If Howard and Paul are still performing at an elite level in 2017, they'll make up a good chunk of that salary in the 2017/18 year of their next contracts. Still, it's hard to guarantee elite production and good health that far in advance, so there'd certainly be an element of risk if either player decides to change teams.

Now, let's circle back to Smith. Unlike the three players we've already covered, Smith, at $13.2MM, wasn't earning more than the max this season. That means the max salary for a player with 7-9 years of experience will apply to him next season. Calculating Smith's contract scenarios isn't as easy as starting with this year's $16,402,500 maximum though, since that figure will increase next season, based on the NBA's projected BRI. We won't know exactly what the new max will be until July, but for argument's sake, let's assume it increases by the same rate as it did last July — about 5.77%. That would put Smith's maximum first-year salary for 2013/14 at $17,350,125. Here's what a max offer from the Hawks and from another team would look like for Smith:


Finally, we arrive at Jennings, whose earning potential is significantly less than our other four marquee free agents, simply based on his service time. The Bucks guard will be finishing up his fourth season this year, meaning he's only eligible for what would have been a $13,668,750 salary in 2012/13 — that's the amount that players like Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert are earning in the first year of the max contracts they signed last offseason. For Jennings, that maximum figures to increase a little for '13/14. As we did with Smith's 7-9 year max, let's assume that the 1-6 year max will increase at the same rate it did last summer, about 5.77%. That would mean Jennings' first-year max for '13/14 would be $14,458,437. Here's what his max scenarios would look like:


Jennings certainly won't receive that five-year maximum offer from the Bucks — James Harden and Blake Griffin were the only players prior to this season that received that true max. Griffin will actually earn even more than my estimated $83MM, since starting two All-Star games during his rookie contract made him eligible for a higher max, but Harden's deal with the Rockets will be in the ballpark of that $83MM figure. For Jennings, his best chances of landing a maximum offer involve signing an offer sheet with a rival team, forcing the Bucks to decide whether or not to match. In that case, he could sign for up to four years, with 4.5% raises, as detailed above in the right-hand column.

I don't expect all five of these marquee free agents to sign maximum-salary contracts this summer, but it only takes one team willing to go all-in to quickly change the free agent landscape. Given how many clubs are expected to have significant cap space in July, it certainly wouldn't be a shock if three or four of these players received max offers. Still, not all max contracts are created equal, so be sure to consider these figures as free agent chatter heats up in the coming months.

2013/14 Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Our list of 2013/14 free agents not only includes players who are currently in the final year of their contracts, but also guys who have some form of option for next season attached to their deals. If those options are exercised, by either the player or team, a few more names will come off this summer's free agent list.

In addition to the players with option years, a number of players are on non-guaranteed contracts for next season. Their respective teams will have to decide by a particular date, which can vary from player to player, whether to guarantee those contracts for 2013/14 or to avoid a larger cap hit by releasing them.

Not all non-guaranteed contracts are created equal, however. Plenty of players have non-guaranteed minimum-salary contracts that simply serve as a way for a team to get an extra look at a player this summer before deciding whether or not to keep him on the roster. But the stakes are a bit higher for a veteran like Rodney Stuckey, who is owed $8.5MM next season — only $4MM of that money is currently guaranteed, meaning the Pistons face a $4.5MM decision on whether to bring him back for next season.

Listed below are all the players believed to have non-guaranteed or partially-guaranteed contracts for '13/14. Unless otherwise indicated, the contracts are minimum-salary deals with no guarantee.