NBA restricted free agency can be a double-edged sword — this summer, for instance, it has been beneficial for players like Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine, and Dante Exum, who have each signed player-friendly deals that don’t look much different than contracts they might have earned as unrestricted free agents.
For other players though, the lack of leverage in restricted free agency creates tough decisions. Those players may have to choose between settling for a multi-year offer lower than what they believe they’re worth, or signing their one-year qualifying offer in the hopes of securing a better offer as an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Clint Capela (Rockets), Marcus Smart (Celtics), Jabari Parker (Bucks), and Rodney Hood (Cavaliers) are among the big-name restricted free agents still on the board, with Montrezl Harrell (Clippers), Yogi Ferrell (Mavericks), David Nwaba (Bulls), and Patrick McCaw (Warriors) also still unsigned.
There’s a sense that if any one of those players signed an offer sheet within reason, his current team would match it. But those clubs may not be eager to negotiate directly and risk bidding against themselves — they’d rather let the market set the price for those restricted free agents. But with only a small handful of teams still able to offer more than the mid-level exception to free agents, the market simply hasn’t developed for some of these players.
While things may look bleak for a few restricted free agents on July 12, we expect all of them to be back under contract by October 12. So we want to know how you think some of these contract situations will be resolved.
Will the Rockets, Celtics, Bucks, or Cavaliers negotiate long-term deals with their restricted free agents? Will any of the teams with substantial cap room – the Hawks, Kings, Bulls, and Nets – make a play for one of the available RFAs?
Will anyone sign his qualifying offer with an eye toward unrestricted free agency in 2019? Do you foresee any major negotiating missteps for any of this year’s RFAs, like Nerlens Noel turning down a $70MM offer in 2017?
Jump into the comment section below to weigh on 2018’s remaining RFAs!