K.J. McDaniels takes unique approach to rookie contract with Sixers

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There’s no stipulation by the NBA that a second round draft pick must receive a guaranteed contract to play in the upcoming season, never mind one that would guarantee him money for two years, with team options for two more after that.

But that’s how the Sixers have been operating recently.

It’s a strategy that gives fringe players money up front, but that comes at a price. Should they prove themselves worthy of more than that minimal amount, their earning power is restricted for two additional seasons, giving the team all the leverage in the relationship.

K.J. McDaniels, selected with the 32nd overall pick by the Sixers in this summer’s draft, could have taken that route. But he’s made a more daring decision where his contract is concerned, and one that is fairly unique under the circumstances.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Philadelphia’s K.J. McDaniels, the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, made a bold decision on his rookie contract, agreeing to a one-year, non-guaranteed tender that could make him a restricted free agent next July.

McDaniels’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, wouldn’t accept the 76ers’ structure of two guaranteed contract seasons that included two non-guaranteed seasons in years three and four of the deal. The 76ers have had success using these contracts to control young players’ service and flipping the non-guaranteed seasons into valuable trade chips. …

“The 76ers have a philosophy that they’re adhering to, and we totally respect that, but it doesn’t fit for K.J. and us,” Bartelstein told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday morning. “I just totally disagree with the idea of doing a four-year deal that includes a structure of two non-guaranteed years. We think K.J. is going to be a good player, and it came down to doing a one-year deal and letting the market determine his value.”

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that this is something we may see more of, especially if the players are convinced of their abilities.

Have talked to several agents who have urged their clients to take injury insurance policy and roll the dice, especially if they’ll play.

It’s unclear whether or not McDaniels will earn many minutes on this Sixers team, but it’s more possible there than perhaps anywhere else. Philadelphia has nothing but young players on the roster that the team is looking to develop, so if McDaniels proves himself as being worthy, he’ll have the opportunity to showcase his skills throughout the year, thereby upping his value in advance of a new contract next season.