The Birdman never really took off during the NBA Finals.
Chris Andersen rebounded a bit, but he shot just 3-for-12 and failed to provide much defensive resistance. The Heat were outscored by 33 in his 90 minutes (as opposed to their -37 net rating in the 210 minutes he sat).
But facing a $1,448,490 player option for next season – the league-minimum salary for a player of his experience – the 35-year-old Andersen will take his chances.
Forward-center Chris Andersen will opt-out of his contract to become a free agent, a source said.
Essentially, Andersen is definitely making one bet and possibly another.
1. He believes he will play in the NBA next season.
2. If he wants to stay in Miami, he believes the Heat will give him a roster spot.
I’d say No. 1 is correct. Andersen has played solidly overall the last couple years, and a disappointing end to the season – even though he’ll turn 36 before next season – won’t push him completely out of the league.
If Andersen signs somewhere this offseason, there’s no way he’ll lose money, because his option year called for the league minimum. Can he get more than that – either in a higher salary or a multi-year deal? Maybe, but probably only if he’s willing to leave Miami, and even then it’s a 50-50 chance. But he should have multiple suitors offering a one-year, minimum-salary contract.
Will Andersen have the opportunity to re-sign with the Heat? Miami must get younger, and replacing Andersen could be a step in that direction. The Heat might wait until later in the offseason to determine whether they have room for Andersen. This isn’t last offseason, when Miami rewarded Andersen for his championship contributions by quickly re-signing him.
The Heat certainly embrace Andersen’s decision, because it just gives them more flexibility. If they want to pursue Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all terminating their contracts is the big domino, but Andersen opting out helps, too.