When LeBron James returned to Cleveland he signed a two year deal. He had a player option and decided to opt out. He will be returning to the Cavaliers but LeBron has always had options. In 2007 he signed a three year extension with a player option instead of the max five year deal. This led to him opting out and joining Dwyane Wade in Miami.
James, Wade and Bosh all signed contracts that would allow them to opt out early. James left, Bosh got paid and Wade changed his deal.
With the cap going up LeBron James will probably sign a couple of two year deals with an opt out to get max money. I thought more players would go this route because of the cap increase. Shorter deals with an opt out clause could lead to more money.
It was believed that Jimmy Butler wanted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers. He was going to sign a one year deal with the Chicago Bulls and leave the following year. That didn’t happen at all as Butler quickly signed a five year deal worth $95 million.
Kevin Love signed his max extension because he was coming off an injury plagued season. I believe if he finished the season healthy he would have opted in for a year and got even bigger money next season.
Until Dwyane Wade signed his one year deal all the other free agents signed three-five year deals. Wade wanted more money and he got a nice one year deal for $20 million. If he stays healthy and plays well he could probably signed another one year deal for $20 million. This is a smart move for both parties involved. Wade gets some more money and the Heat doesn’t have to invest long term in Wade because of his health.
Greg Monroe signed a good deal, three years $50 million with a player option after two. Monroe is a solid player who averaged a double-double last season. If continues to play like that for a playoff team in the Milwaukee Bucks he can make even more money if he opts out.
But this all goes back to LeBron James. He is the pioneer for controlling his options. He signed that three year extension way back in 2007 with a player option. He has been an unrestricted free agent three times already.
As a player the best thing to have is options. Will Kevin Durant sign a shorter deal after next season? I could see him signing a short deal with the Thunder so he can see what Russell Westbrook does. It wouldn’t be great if Durant signs a five year deal and then Westbrook leaves.
Anthony Davis just signed a five-year, $145 million extension with the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis is receiving new money in this contract. There will be a clause after year 4 that allows Davis to return to free agency in 2020. Davis is a great player and he led the Pelicans to the playoffs for the first time last season but in this situation he should have followed the “LeBron model” and signed a three year extension.
The Pelicans barely made the playoffs with a banged up Oklahoma City team. Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon have been banged up in recent years. The Pelicans also gave a five-year deal to Omer Asik which does not help Davis in the long run. He can bang down low but he hinders their offense.
Dame Lillard is another guy who probably messed up with his new deal. He signed a five-year extension that could be worth between $125 million and $129 million. Yes it is great money for a guy that is making $4.24 million in 2015-16. However this Blazers team will be very different next season.
Lillard will be the only returning starter from a 51 win team. Robin Lopez has agreed to sign with the Knicks, Wesley Matthews will sign with the Dallas Mavericks, Nicolas Batum has been traded and LaMarcus Aldridge will probably sign with a team by the time I upload this. Again a three-year deal might have been better for a team that might be rebuilding. It will be hard for Lillard to keep the Blazers in the playoffs in a competitive Western Conference.
So will more players go with the “LeBron model” or will they continue to sign those five-year deals and then ask to be traded after three years?