Chris Andersen

Chris Andersen to opt out of contract


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.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

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.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.