A number of NBA contracts include player options in the final year. Those option years give the player the opportunity to either opt into the final year of his deal, finishing out his contract, or to opt out and hit the free agent market a year early.
A year ago, 29 veterans held player options on their contracts for 2016/17, and 26 of those players declined to pick up those options, choosing instead to enter free agency. The three players that exercised their options were Tim Duncan, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams — none of the three played a single NBA minute this past season.
In other words, if you had a player option on your contract last year, declining it was a no-brainer, unless you didn’t expect to land another contract. Even someone like Shane Larkin, who spent the season overseas playing ball in Spain, turned down a player option for that opportunity.
This year’s player option decisions will likely follow a similar pattern, with a few exceptions. Although the salary cap won’t make the same leap in 2017 that it did in 2016, there’s still plenty of money available out there for free agents, so guys with player options may turn them down in search of a longer-term contract that will pay more overall.
This year’s player options are detailed below. We’ll keep this list updated through the end of June to note the latest decisions.
- Langston Galloway, Kings ($5,434,000): Opting out
- Kyle Lowry, Raptors ($12,000,000): Opted out
- Chris Paul, Clippers ($24,268,959): Opted in*
- C.J. Miles, Pacers ($4,772,675): Opting out
- Dwyane Wade, Bulls ($23,800,000): Opted in
- Dion Waiters, Heat ($3,028,410): Opting out
- Kevin Durant, Warriors ($27,734,405): Opting out
- Danilo Gallinari, Nuggets ($16,100,000): Opting out
- Rudy Gay, Kings ($14,263,566): Opted out
- Gordon Hayward, Jazz ($16,736,710): Opted out
- Luc Mbah a Moute, Clippers ($2,302,135): Opted out
- Nick Young, Lakers ($5,668,667): Opted out
- Dante Cunningham, Pelicans ($3,106,500): Opting out
- Blake Griffin, Clippers ($21,373,952): Opted out*
- David Lee, Spurs ($2,328,652): Opted out
- Josh McRoberts, Heat ($6,021,175): Opted in
- Paul Millsap, Hawks ($21,472,407): Opted out
- Willie Reed, Heat ($1,577,230): Opting out
- Aron Baynes, Pistons ($6,500,000): Opted out
- Dewayne Dedmon, Spurs ($3,028,410): Opting out
- Pau Gasol, Spurs ($16,197,500): Opting out
- Spencer Hawes, Bucks ($6,021,175): Opted in
- Greg Monroe, Bucks ($17,884,176): Opted in
- Marreese Speights, Clippers ($2,116,955): Opted out
* Note: Paul and Griffin have early termination options on their contracts. These aren’t technically player options, but practically speaking, they serve the same function.