We’ve seen this with a lot of players: Kyrie Irving rejected one by Boston, it keeps coming up with Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler rejected one in Minnesota but hinted he might sign one elsewhere, Tobias Harris turned down the Clippers, and there are others.
NBA players are turning down contract extensions with their current teams.
And most should for financial reasons. With an extension, the most a team is allowed to offer is 120 percent of what the player currently makes, but for guys who should be at or near the max, or guys below market value on their current contract, they would be leaving a lot of money on the table. In Thompson’s case, the difference between an extension and him opting out and re-signing a max deal with the Warriors could be as much as $86 million over five years.
The latest guy to turn down an extension this summer, Eric Gordon of the Rockets, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Gordon is under contract for this season and next, the extension would have been for a couple of seasons after that.
Rockets guard Eric Gordon said the Rockets did approach his representatives in the offseason about a contract extension beyond the two seasons remaining on his contract, but that while hoping to remain with the Rockets long-term he does not expect to extend his current deal.
Gordon is in the third season of a four-year, $52 million contract. Because the Rockets are over the salary cap they would be limited to the amount they can offer in an extension. They can offer a raise worth as much as 120 percent of his $14 million salary in the 2019-20 season with as much as eight percent raises in each of the next three seasons.
That sort of contract extension would begin at $16.8 million, though Gordon could potentially attract larger offers from the Rockets or other teams as a free agent.
It’s not about wanting to leave, Gordon most likely will get the best offer from the Rockets (and he likes playing there), it’s about the money. Plus, the next couple of seasons the salary cap is expected to climb quickly. Gordon is keeping his options open, as he should.
Before that, the Rockets have some decisions to make this coming summer — Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis, Gerald Green. However, their core guys are locked up for at least a couple of seasons as they make their runs at Golden State. It’s just a question of when does owner Tilman Fertitta balk at writing the checks?