Stephen Curry signed a bargain rookie-scale contract extension with the Warriors while still experiencing significant ankle injuries. He got healthy, blossomed into a superstar and didn’t complain. His relatively low salary was instrumental in Golden State clearing cap space to sign Kevin Durant and building a dynasty.
Curry finally got a chance to get his deserved contract in 2017. He re-signed on a super-max deal and asked for a player option.
Even after all he had meant for them, the Warriors said no.
Klay Thompson didn’t get a player option on his rookie-extension. Not on his max contract this summer, either. Even when talks broke down with Draymond Green during his lone free agency, Golden State got him to come to terms without including a player option.
Green finally broke the Warriors on player options with his four-year, $99,666,363 extension.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Kevin Durant got players options on his three 1+1 contracts with the Warriors. That speaks to his power. Those also weren’t long-term deals. It’s a different thing.
This is Green’s reward for taking such a big discount on the extension.
His max for re-signing projected to be $204 million over five years. His max for signing elsewhere projected to be $151 million over four years. He could’ve even won Defensive Player of the Year or made an All-NBA team and become eligible for a super-max contract, which projects to be worth $238 million over five years.
Green wouldn’t have necessarily gotten max offers in free agency. But he had a chance. He certainly had plenty of room to make more money than he will on the extension.
The player option is better to have than not. It’s value here is limited, though.
Green can opt out of $27,586,225 at age 33. It seems unlikely he’d draw a higher salary in 2023 free agency. Maybe he could opt out to get more overall compensation in a multi-year deal.
The player option Green really could have used was for this year. He could have gotten way more than his $18,539,130 salary on the open market. He’s coming off a strong playoff run and is just 29. He knew his options would likely be more limited next year at age 30, which is why he signed his extension.
That’s also why the Warriors have so strongly resisted player options in their contracts.