The NBA’s 2018 free-agent class – slated to include LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, DeAndre Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Isaiah Thomas, LaMarcus Aldridge, Derrick Favors and Brook Lopez – might get a little less star-studded.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement opens the door for mega contract extensions for players on veteran contracts.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post:
Currently, extensions to veteran contracts allow the amended deal to total up to four years, including the current season. Is a six-year extension to an expiring contract here for five or six additional years? There’s a difference between how we conventionally describe those deals and how the CBA defines them, and it’s unclear which method the writers are using here.
Veterans with Bird Rights – by and large the type of player discussed here – can re-sign on a new contract for up to five years at any starting salary up to the max. But their extensions can last up to only three years with the salary in the first year of the extension capped at 107.5% his previous salary.
Presumably, the new designated-player-extensions won’t increase potential compensation for players on such deals. It’ll merely allow the player to get in a extension what he could get in free agency after his contract expires.
This would mirror the currently allowed designated-player extensions for rookie-scale deals. Players can re-sign after a completed rookie-scale contract for up to five years, but a non-designated-player rookie-scale extension can add up to only four years.
So, we’ll see how large of an effect this has. These extended veterans would seemingly gain only security – not more favorable contract terms than they’d be eligible for in free agency. Some players value that security, but for clear max players, why not keep the flexibility of free agency? The fallback is re-signing for the same terms that designated-player extension would’ve offered anyway.
This rule might not grant much additional leverage for teams to retain the biggest stars, but it should help teams lock up the next tier of players.