NBA Free Agency: Eric Gordon, Nicolas Batum and The Problem With Restricted Free-Agents
Photo Credit: Mark Allison, Flickr.com
NBA free agents are free to sign with any team they want as long as they are unrestricted free agents. It’s a privilege and is something that is earned by players by playing out their contracts.
Restricted free agents don’t have the same freedom. Their original teams must offer them the qualifying offer and then retain the right to match any offer from any team.
The problem with restricted free agents is when players are unhappy. This is what we’re currently seeing with Eric Gordon in New Orleans and Nicolas Batum in Portland.
Both players are very good and it would hurt immensely for either team to lose those guys without getting value in return.
Gordon has been offered a contract by the Phoenix Suns while Batum has been offered a contract by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
If the Hornets and Trailblazers chose to not match the offers, they would get no real value in return. They are essentially being forced to match the offer then they will have to try to trade the player or risk having dead weight on the club.
For smaller markets or less desirable markets, this is a good thing because it allows those teams to hold onto their stars. Would people choose to stay in Milwaukee over Los Angeles? Probably not.
The problem is that the NBA isn’t about management or teams anymore. It’s about the players and when the players want something, they either get it or the team runs the risk of them sulking and under-performing.
At this point, lets just get rid of the restricted free agents. Allow home teams to give even larger contracts than they already can if there’s such a worry that they will bolt.
It has to be better than watching unhappy players tank because they want out.
I wear many hats. I will become a father for the first time in July 2013. My work career started as an umpire, evolved to a blackjack dealer and has settled as a sportswriter. You could say I'm used to getting yelled at. I love me some Minnesota Timberwolves but currently call Phoenix home. I'm an eight handicap and a terrible leaper.