Chandler Parsons has a player option on what was nearly a max contract when he signed it in 2014. He’s coming off his worst season since his rookie year. And he missed the end of the season with troubling knee issues.
Would he really opt out?
Welcome to 2016 NBA free agency.
Chandler Parsons already has said he will exercise his option to become a free agent this summer.
Parsons’ player option is worth $16,023,000. His max salary in free agency will be more than $20 million.
With the salary cap skyrocketing to about $92 million and so many players locked into low old-money contracts, this summer will be a spending bonanza. So many teams will have cap room, Parsons will almost certainly get a raise. In fact, he’ll probably get a max contract. His knee presents a risks, but at age 27, Parsons will probably convince a team shut out of better free agents to take a risk. His window for being healthy and productive is still open, and he started playing well before getting hurt.
The Mavericks could keep Parsons, though him opting out provides flexibility to explore the market. Justin Anderson‘s ability to handle an increased role as the season progressed also provides cover for letting Parsons walk.
Dallas projects to have about $24 million in cap space (counting cap holds for Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and Dwight Powell). In other words, the Mavericks could spend that $24 million then exceed the cap to re-sign Williams, Parsons and/or Powell. Renouncing Parsons ($19,969,950 cap hold), Williams ($6,454,769 cap hold) and/or Powell ($1,180,431 cap hold) could give Dallas even more space to chase stars.
Expect the Mavericks to keep one foot in pitching Parsons to return, the other in looking for upgrades. Even if Dallas doesn’t work out, Parsons should have options elsewhere – unless his knee causes major concern in physicals. That’s the risk here, but you hope he got proper medical evaluations before making this decision.