Player options can be a nuisance for teams. Teams interested in trading for Corey Brewer earlier this month reportedly sought to have him waive his $4.905MM player option for 2015/16, and Brewer doesn’t even possess a particularly expensive option. No team would mind having LeBron James at the value of his league-high $21.573MM player option for next season, but the specter of Roy Hibbert‘s $15.514MM option, tied for the fifth-most expensive 2015/16 player option in the NBA, is a complication for the Pacers.
There’s a decent chance that the salary would be better than any that Hibbert would be able to command in free agency, but he’d probably be able to secure a much greater amount of money over the long term if he opts out, so it isn’t easy for the Pacers to guess what he’ll do. President of basketball operations Larry Bird and company are no doubt keyed into the thinking of the center who’s been a part of the team since 2008, but until they know for sure, the Pacers will have to look ahead to next summer with uncertainty about whether they’ll have significant cap room. Add to the mix David West‘s $12MM player option, another one that could go either way, and there’s no clear picture of the summer ahead for Indiana, which, aside from the options, currently has about $36MM in commitments for 2015/16.
Hibbert and West possess two of the NBA’s nine 2015/16 player options worth more than $10MM, but the Pacers are just one of three teams with multiple players holding such lucrative options. The Cavs, with two of the three most expensive ones, and the Heat are the others. The tenth-most expensive player option in the league, which belongs to Thaddeus Young, is actually an early termination option, though it functions much the same way as a standard player option does.
Jared Dudley holds the only other early termination option for 2015/16, but the possibility, if not the assumption, that he’ll opt in led the Clippers to trade him to the Bucks this summer for a pair of contracts with non-guaranteed salary for 2015/16 instead. The Clippers didn’t have to factor in that non-guaranteed money when they waived Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica, the two players they acquired in the Dudley trade, and used the Stretch Provision to spread their salaries. Conversely, the value of Dudley’s option would have counted if the Clippers were to have simply waived and stretched him, so even though Dudley may never end up seeing that money, it’s already influenced where he’s playing. However, if Dudley’s option were merely a player option instead of an early termination option, the salary wouldn’t necessarily have counted. Players and teams who sign contracts that contain player options choose whether or not the player will receive the salary in the option year in the event that he’s waived before he has a chance to decide on the option.
The presence of player and early termination options will no doubt come into play again as teams discuss trades between now and the February 19th trade deadline. All 33 player options for 2015/16 are listed below and rounded to the nearest $1K.
- LeBron James, Cavaliers: $21.573MM
- Brook Lopez, Nets: $16.744MM
- Kevin Love, Cavaliers: $16.744MM
- Dwyane Wade, Heat: $16.125MM
- Eric Gordon, Pelicans: $15.514MM
- Roy Hibbert, Pacers: $15.514MM
- Al Jefferson, Hornets: $13.5MM
- David West, Pacers: $12.6MM
- Luol Deng, Heat: $10.152MM
- Thaddeus Young, Timberwolves: $9.972MM (early termination)
- Jeff Green, Celtics: $9.2MM
- Monta Ellis, Mavericks: $8.72MM
- Arron Afflalo, Nuggets: $7.5MM
- Goran Dragic, Suns: $7.5MM
- J.R. Smith, Knicks: $6.4MM
- Gerald Henderson, Hornets: $6MM
- Paul Pierce, Wizards: $5.544MM
- Chase Budinger, Timberwolves: $5MM
- Corey Brewer, Timberwolves: $4.905MM
- Jared Dudley, Bucks: $4.25MM (early termination)
- Raymond Felton, Mavericks: $3.95MM
- Kirk Hinrich, Bulls: $2.855MM
- Mike Miller, Cavaliers: $2.855MM
- Jameer Nelson, Mavericks: $2.855MM
- Steve Blake, Trail Blazers: $2.17MM
- Jordan Farmar, Clippers: $2.17MM
- Danny Granger, Heat: $2.17MM
- Alan Anderson, Nets: $1.333MM
- Cartier Martin, Pistons: $1.271MM
- Brandon Rush, Warriors: $1.271MM
- Al-Farouq Aminu, Mavericks: $1.101MM
- Ed Davis, Lakers: $1.101MM
- Garrett Temple, Wizards: $1.101MM