JaMychal Green

How Players Who Declined Options Fared In Free Agency

Of the 16 veterans who had player options on their contracts for the 2021/22 season, seven picked up those options, forgoing free agency for another year of security. However, that leaves nine players who opted out and reached the free agent market.

For some players, that decision was an easy one. For instance, Norman Powell was long believed to be in line for a multiyear deal in the range of $15-20MM per year, so exercising his $11.6MM player option never would’ve made any sense.

The decision wasn’t so easy for every player who opted out though. Now that we’re five weeks into free agency, we want to look back on those decisions to see if they paid off for the nine players who opted out.

Let’s dive in…


The biggest wins:

  • Kawhi Leonard
    • Option: $36,016,200 (Clippers)
    • New contract: Four years, $176,265,152 (Clippers)
  • Norman Powell
    • Option: $11,615,328 (Trail Blazers)
    • New contract: Five years, $90,000,000 (Trail Blazers)
  • Spencer Dinwiddie
    • Option: $12,302,496 (Nets)
    • New contract: Three years, $54,000,000 (Wizards)
      • Note: Deal includes $8MM in incentives; third year partially guaranteed.

Leonard, Powell, and Dinwiddie all secured raises for the 2021/22 season and increased their overall guarantees exponentially. Leonard tacked on an extra $140MM in guaranteed money, while Powell’s new overall guarantee is nearly eight times more than his option salary.

Dinwiddie’s new contract isn’t quite as favorable as the other two, but it’s still a major win for a player who missed nearly the entire 2020/21 season due to an ACL tear. Even in a worst-case scenario, Dinwiddie will earn $45MM in guaranteed money. He can ensure his third-year salary becomes fully guaranteed by appearing in at least 50 games in each of the next two seasons, and he has the ability to earn even more in incentives.

A solid win:

  • Chris Paul
    • Option: $44,211,146 (Suns)
    • New contract: Four years, $120,000,000 (Suns)
      • Note: Deal includes $75MM in guaranteed money. Third year is partially guaranteed; fourth year is non-guaranteed.

If you want to move Paul to the “biggest wins” group, I wouldn’t argue with that. After all, he increased his overall guarantee by more than $30MM, which is no small feat for a player hitting free agency at age 36.

I’m separating him into his own group because his 2021/22 salary was reduced by more than $13MM as part of his new deal, and I think it’s possible he could’ve gotten more than $30MM in guaranteed money on his next deal if he had simply picked up his option and hit free agency next year.

I certainly don’t blame him for going this route though, given his injury history. And if he continues to play at a high level, the Suns will probably want to keep him for the third year of the deal, which would increase his overall guarantee on this contract to $90MM.

Minor wins:

  • Will Barton
    • Option: $14,669,642 (Nuggets)
    • New contract: Two years, $30,000,000 (Nuggets)
      • Note: Deal includes $2MM in incentives.
  • JaMychal Green
    • Option: $7,559,748 (Nuggets)
    • New contract: Two years, $16,400,000 (Nuggets)
      • Note: Deal includes $400K in incentives.
  • Bobby Portis
    • Option: $3,804,150 (Bucks)
    • New contract: Two years, $8,912,580 (Bucks)
  • Bryn Forbes
    • Option: $2,454,002 (Bucks)
    • New contract: One year, $4,500,000 (Spurs)

The Nuggets took a similar approach to their negotiations with Barton and Green — Denver gave each player a small raise this year, plus a second guaranteed season (Green’s second year is a player option).

The Bucks went that route with Portis too, giving him the biggest raise they could offer using his Non-Bird rights and including a second-year player option on his new deal.

You could make a case that Forbes is a big winner for nearly doubling his 2021/22 salary, but without any future years tacked onto that deal (and given the relatively small salaries involved), I’m classifying it as a modest victory.

The jury’s still out:

Hartenstein is the only one of these nine players who remains unsigned. Based on his solid play with the Cavs down the stretch, turning down his minimum-salary player option seemed like a reasonable bet at the time, but it now looks like he might’ve been better off taking the guaranteed money.

While he’ll probably be signed at some point in the coming weeks, Hartenstein isn’t a lock for a fully guaranteed deal. And even if he gets a guaranteed one-year, minimum-salary contract, it’ll be worth slightly less ($1,729,217) than the option he declined, due to the league’s minimum-salary rules.

Northwest Notes: Green, Timberwolves, Lore, Snyder

JaMychal Green drew interest from a number of teams during free agency, Mike Singer of The Denver Post reports. Green caught the attention of the Timberwolves, Pelicans, Sixers, Spurs and Bucks. Minnesota even considered a possible sign-and-trade for the veteran forward, who opted to re-sign with the Nuggets on a two-year, $17MM deal.

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Timberwolves had some level of interest in all of the forwards involved in the unofficial three-team trade among the Bulls, Cavaliers and Trail Blazers, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. They had early interest this summer in restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, who’s headed to Cleveland in the sign-and-trade, but Chicago didn’t seriously engage them in trade discussions, Wolfson adds. Minnesota had strong interest last year in Larry Nance Jr., who’s going to Portland, and Derrick Jones Jr., who’s joining the Bulls.
  • Marc Lore, who along with former baseball star Alex Rodriguez has assumed 20% of the Timberwolves franchise with plans to eventually become the controlling owners, believes he can sell top free agents on coming to Minnesota, Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. “When players or people say, ‘Hey, it’s a small market, we’re never going to get any of the big free agents,’ — well, if they share a similar set of values maybe they will (come),” Lore said. “If you really stand for something, and they’re passionate about the same values, then they’re like, ‘No, I’ve seen it. I’ve heard about it. I want to be a part of that.'”
  • Jazz coach Quin Snyder isn’t likely to tinker too much with his lineups and rotations this coming season, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News speculates. Snyder isn’t the type of coach who does a lot of experimentation but he will play to the strengths of his personnel and there are some new faces, so that will require some flexibility, Todd adds.

Nuggets Notes: JaMychal Green, Jeff Green, Jones

JaMychal Green doesn’t anticipate his role changing after re-signing with the Nuggets, according to the Denver Post’s Mike Singer. Green, who signed a two-year, $17MM contract last week, says he’ll be a “glue guy” for one of the Western Conference’s top teams. Across 58 contests last season,

Green averaged 8.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 19.3 MPG, with a shooting line of .463/.399/.807. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 19 MPG during the postseason.

Green added that Denver “felt like home” and he stayed in touch during free agency with Will Barton, who also re-signed with the club (Twitter links here).

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Forward Jeff Green left the Nets in unrestricted free agency and signed a two-year, $10MM deal with Denver. Green called it was an easy decision, Singer writes. “It was a no-brainer,” he said. “I felt like it could be a special season.” The journeyman added the two-year commitment played a role in his selection, saying it was a relief to “finally lock in something more than one year.”
  • Popeye Jones has officially joined Michael Malone’s staff, according to a press release. Jones’ decision to leave Philadelphia’s staff to become an assistant in Denver came to light late last month.
  • In case you missed it, Barton said he never really considered leaving the Nuggets despite opting out of his contract. Get the details here.

Nuggets Sign JaMychal Green To Two-Year Deal

AUGUST 19: The Nuggets have officially re-signed Green, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.


AUGUST 2: The Nuggets will bring back reserve power forward JaMychal Green, an unrestricted free agent, on a two-year, $17MM deal, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). The agreement includes a player option for the 2022/23 season, Charania adds.

After going undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, the 6’8″ Green logged time with the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Clippers before linking up with Denver. Green, now 31, initially joined the Nuggets as a free agent in 2020, inking a two-year, $15MM deal with a player option for the 2021/22 season, which he then declined this summer.

An athletic big man with long-range shooting ability, Green proved a helpful contributor in Denver’s frontcourt rotation. Across 58 contests with Denver, Green averaged 8.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 19.3 MPG, with a stellar shooting line of .463/.399/.807. He averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG during 19 MPG in the 2021 postseason.

The Pelicans were also interested in adding Green this summer, writes Mike Singer of the Denver Post.

The Nuggets appear determined to retain some key role players this summer, as it was also reported today that Denver is set to bring back free agent shooting guard Will Barton, also on a two-year deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.

Free Agency Rumors: Oubre, Mills, Dinwiddie, Carmelo, More

Free agent swingman Kelly Oubre received interest from the Heat after free agency began, but didn’t set a meeting with Miami because he is hoping to net a contract “well above” the mid-level exception, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (via Twitter).

Now that Miami has committed to using most of its mid-level exception on P.J. Tucker, Oubre is almost certainly off the table for the Heat, even if his asking price drops.

Here are more free agency rumors from around the NBA world:

  • Free agent sharpshooting combo guard Patty Mills has received interest from the Lakers and Nets, per Marc Stein of Substack (via Twitter). Anthony Slater of The Athletic adds (Twitter link) that the Warriors could also pursue Mills and posits that he may fetch a deal that within range of the taxpayer mid-level. Jordan Schultz of ESPN tweets that the Nets are apparently a distant third in the sweepstakes to sign Mills.
  • Jordan Schultz of ESPN reports (Twitter link) that free agent point guard Spencer Dinwiddie appears unlikely to sign with the Mavericks.
  • 37-year-old free agent forward Carmelo Anthony continues to weigh interest from the Lakers and Knicks, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).
  • Before Alex Caruso finalized his four-year agreement with the Bulls, Caruso’s camp checked back in with the Lakers and was told L.A. wouldn’t be putting a counter-offer on the table, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Sam Amick of The Athletic.
  • Newly re-signed Nuggets reserve power forward JaMychal Green fielded richer offers in free agency than the two-year, $17MM contract he ultimately signed to remain in Denver, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Singer says the Pelicans, Timberwolves, and Spurs were the other teams most interested in Green.

Luke Adams contributed to this report.

Free Agency Notes: D. Robinson, Nuggets, Vanderbilt, Hezonja

Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson has told associates that his preference is to remain with the Heat, a source tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Robinson is a restricted free agent and Miami wants to retain him, so he wouldn’t have had much leverage if he wanted to go to a new team, but the fact that he wants to return is good news for the Heat. They’ll be able to keep his small cap hold on their books while they address other free agent business before circling back to finalize a new deal with Robinson.

Here are a few more updates related to free agency:

  • The Nuggets are unlikely to make any major splashes during free agency, as they’ll focus on re-signing their own free agents, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Singer views Will Barton and JaMychal Green as good bets to return to Denver, and suggests that one of Paul Millsap and JaVale McGee could be back too. If the Nuggets are only able to re-sign one of Green, Millsap, and McGee, they’ll shop for another big man on the open market, according to Singer, who notes that Green’s market is expected to be in the $7-9MM range — a previous report stated a $16MM-per-year deal is a possibility for Barton.
  • The Timberwolves had discussions with forward Jarred Vanderbilt about a possible contract extension, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, but those talks went nowhere. Minnesota tendered Vanderbilt a qualifying offer, so the team will have the ability to match any offer he gets as a restricted free agent.
  • Former fifth overall pick Mario Hezonja, who played for Panathinaikos in Greece last season, won’t be returning to the NBA this offseason. As Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando relays, Russian club UNICS Kazan has signed Hezonja to a one-year contract with an option for a second season.

Western Rumors: Lakers, Pelicans, McDermott, Ja. Green, Holmes, More

After agreeing to acquire Russell Westbrook from Washington, the Lakers won’t have a ton of cap flexibility to add outside free agents this offseason. Los Angeles will likely be limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum-salary contracts, since acquiring a player via sign-and-trade would create a hard cap that the team wouldn’t be able to stay under.

However, even with limited resources, that doesn’t mean the Lakers will have to wait until the second or third wave of free agency to go bargain hunting. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, people around the NBA believe that several veterans in search of a championship ring could be willing to pass on more lucrative offers elsewhere to join the Lakers. Fischer identifies DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Carmelo Anthony as some players who may fit that bill.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Pelicans, Suns, and Nuggets are believed to be among the teams interested in pursuing Pacers sharpshooter Doug McDermott in free agency, according to Fischer. A recent report from The Indianapolis Star suggested Indiana may lose McDermott this summer.
  • A return to the Nuggets is a possibility for JaMychal Green, but the power forward is also expected to draw interest from the Pelicans and Timberwolves, says Fischer.
  • Following up on a Marc Stein report linking Daniel Theis to the Rockets, Fischer confirms Houston is eyeing the veteran big man and suggests the team’s $8.2MM trade exception could be used to land Theis in a sign-and-trade.
  • According to Fischer, sources expect Richaun Holmes to remain with the Kings. That’s a bit of a surprise — Sacramento only has Holmes’ Early Bird rights and has been linked to several other centers, having agreed on Friday to acquire Tristan Thompson. But the Hornets, one of Holmes’ presumed suitors, are no longer expected to go big for a free agent center after drafting Kai Jones and agreeing to trade for Mason Plumlee, per Fischer. The Raptors, Mavericks, and Knicks may still be possibilities for Holmes, Fischer adds.
  • The Mavericks are viewed as the favorites to sign Sterling Brown in free agency, league sources tell Fischer.

Nuggets’ JaMychal Green Declines Contract Option

Nuggets forward JaMychal Green is headed to unrestricted free agency this summer. He’s declining the $7.56MM option on the final year of his contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The 31-year-old Green appeared in 58 regular-season games this past season, including five starts, and averaged 8.1 PPG and 4.8 RPG in 19.3 MPG. He also averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 19 MPG during the postseason. He missed the first five games of the season with a calf strain.

Green has also played for the Clippers, Grizzlies and Spurs.

The Nuggets became a hard-capped team after signing Green with the mid-level exception last offseason. The mid-season acquisition of Aaron Gordon ate into his playing time.

Green might be taking a bit of a gamble, considering he’s been mainly a second-unit contributor much of his career. However, he’s a solid rotation player and could now find a new home where he might receive a bigger opportunity.

Nuggets Notes: Porter Jr., Luxury Tax, Gordon, Barton, Green

The Nuggets are hoping to reach a rookie scale extension agreement with Michael Porter Jr. this offseason, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Porter had a breakout season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is eager to lock up his combo forward long-term.

“He’s basketball-obsessed. His work ethic is an A-plus. It’s fun when you see guys like that where he had to battle through adversity and all the injuries,” Connelly said. “We’ll sit down with Michael’s representation. Our M.O. is when we can, we try to lock guys up and reward them for what they’ve done.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Connelly said that the luxury tax is not a factor in keeping the team competitive, as he told Singer. “We have no financial restraints in terms of trying to further develop a championship-level roster,” he said. Singer notes team salary would likely surpass the tax threshold during the 2022/23 season if Porter is signed to an extension.
  • Porter might be more valuable as a trade chip than a fixture in the Nuggets’ lineup, Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla opines. While Porter is an elite scorer, he has ball-handling issues and is an obvious defensive liability. If Denver can get a star such as Bradley Beal and Zion Williamson in a trade involving Porter, Connelly shouldn’t hesitate, Kiszla adds.
  • Along with Porter’s contract situation, the Nuggets must decide this offseason whether to pursue an extension with Aaron Gordon and whether they want to re-sign Will Barton and JaMychal Green if they decline their player options, Singer writes in an offseason outlook. Adding backcourt depth is also a priority until Murray returns from his knee injury.

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Barton, Porter, Offseason

The Nuggets became the latest NBA team to be eliminated from the postseason, as the Suns completed a four-game sweep on Sunday night in Denver. This season’s Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic, wasn’t on the court for the last quarter of his team’s season, having been ejected after being assessed with a flagrant two for a hard foul on Suns guard Cameron Payne. Head coach Michael Malone wasn’t thrilled with the decision, as ESPN’s Royce Young writes.

“I just didn’t feel like it warranted a flagrant two ejection because he’s making a play on the ball,” Malone said. “There’s marginal contact to Cameron Payne’s nose, I believe. So I was shocked. I’m still a little bit shocked that they called a flagrant two and ejected the MVP on such a play.”

Suns head coach Monty Williams said that he didn’t believe there was any “malicious” intent on Jokic’s part. But whether or not the star center had been ejected, the Nuggets were on the ropes and were unlikely to climb out of a deep hole in the series against Phoenix.

While Denver would’ve liked to advance further in the playoffs, the club was pleased with what it accomplished this season, including a first-round victory without standout guard Jamal Murray.

“The whole season was great, I think,” Jokic said. “Until the last four games.”

Here’s more out of Denver:

  • Nuggets guard Will Barton has battled toe, adductor, knee, and hamstring injuries since the 2019/20 season began and has had to mourn the death of his cousin, who was shot and killed in December 2019, writes Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. Barton admitted after Sunday’s loss that the last 18 months have been “tough for me, physically and mentally,” but vowed to “keep fighting.”
  • Barton will have to decide in the coming weeks whether to pick up his $14.7MM option for 2021/22 or decline it to seek a new contract. According to Keeler, Barton said on Sunday that if he opts out, he’ll want to end up somewhere where he can “play my game” and be in a “winning environment.” A new contract with the Nuggets is a possibility, since it sounds like he views Denver as a place that meets those criteria. “I definitely believe we’ve got the pieces,” Barton said. “And if we’re healthy, I feel like we can win it. And that’s all I’ll say about that.”
  • Barton’s potential free agency will be one of the biggest decisions facing the Nuggets this summer, but there will be plenty of others, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, who points to JaMychal Green‘s contract situation, a possible extension for Aaron Gordon, and Paul Millsap‘s free agency as some other issues the organization will have to address.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) also previews the Nuggets’ offseason, with a focus on how the team will handle a potential rookie scale extension for rising star Michael Porter Jr.