NBA: Why Player Options Are Killing NBA Contracts
Photo Credit: Keith Allison, Flickr.com
NBA players have a small window to get paid. They come into the league with their rookie contract and from there they really only have one legitimate chance at a huge payday.
I don’t blame players for wanting a player option at the end of their contract just like I don’t blame teams for wanting a team option.
A lot changes over the span of a player’s contract but all too often it seems like the team that is getting screwed over at the end.
Let’s take a look at three of the biggest offenders.
Biedrins signed a six-year, $62 million contract back in 2008 with a $9 million player option in 2013-14. At the time, Biedrins looked as if he was going to be a success in the NBA with averages of 11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, one steal and 1.5 blocks per game.
Since that season, he has regressed in a major way. He averaged just 1.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and one block per game last year. This is a guy who will be given the option to make another $9 million in two years. Wonder if he’ll take it?
Here’s another case where a player signed a big contract and watched his production drop as his pocketbook grew. His last year in Milwaukee was very good with averages of 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds.
He has produced less and less every single year and is due another $8.1 million this year and has that horrible $8.6 million option in 2013-14. A good, young team like the Detroit Pistons would LOVE to have that money to spend to help the team.
A bit of history here. Turkoglu opted-out of his last year in Orlando in 2009 so that he could sign a five-year, $53 million contract with the Toronto Raptors. He was traded one year later to the Phoenix Suns, then again five months later to the Orlando Magic.
It has to be karma for the Orlando Magic because now they’re stuck with Turkoglu and his $12 million player option in 2013-14. They got lucky the first time around but now they’re in a lot of trouble.
If it weren’t for Turkoglu’s contract, it might be easier to trade Dwight Howard. The problem is, nobody wants to take that massive cap hit and I don’t blame them.
Player AND team options have to go. A contract should have outs that deal with injury-related issues but as far as simply “changing their minds” or opting-out early to make more money, that’s a problem.
The answer would be shorter contracts, which is not a popular idea among players. At least they would be getting the money they deserve more often and wouldn’t be under (or over) paid for long.
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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.