The False Allure Of Multi-Year Contracts
May 8th, 2014

[Originally posted on Hoopsworld, 15th October 2013.] Unguaranteed or partially guaranteed final seasons are quite the trend nowadays in the NBA, and they have these days almost completely superceded team options. In fact, excluding rookie scale contracts, there are only eight team options in the entire league, belonging to Chauncey Billups, Darius Morris, Timofey Mozgov, Marreese Speights, Carrick Felix, Chandler Parsons, Jae Crowder and Rodney Williams. All other contracts referred to in the press as ‘team options’ are, in fact, unguaranteed salaries. There are very few instances in which contracts must be guaranteed. In fact, there are only two; the first year of a signed-and-traded contract, and the first two years of a rookie scale contract (which must be guaranteed for a minimum of 80 percent of the scale amount). Nothing else has to be guaranteed. It is self evident why so many contracts are nonetheless fully guaranteed – players want that, and teams want players to want them. Yet the unguaranteed contract fad has its basis in logic. Essentially, unguaranteed contracts function much like team options do. However, there are some significant advantages to doing it in this way, which is why it happens. The differences: 1) Non-rookie scale team options have to be decided upon by the final day of the previous season. Seasons change over on July 1st, and thus team options must be decided on or before June 30th. This is not the case with unguaranteed contracts, which either have guarantee dates that can be negotiated to different dates, or which have no guarantee date at all. A lot of unguaranteed contracts have some guaranteed money, becoming fully guaranteed upon a certain date, or no guaranteed money at all becoming slowly guaranteed upon several dates; for players earning the minimum salary it is often the latter, […]

Posted by at 7:40 PM

The Value of Minimum Contracts In The NBA
May 8th, 2014

[Originally posted on Hoopsworld, 7th October 2013.] The most fun part of preseason is being able to get wildly carried away with the results and performances in the mostly meaningless games. This is particularly true of the performances of individual players who simply were not expected to shine, but did. Two such players have already shown their faces, in Houston’s Omri Casspi and the L.A. Lakers’s Xavier Henry. Casspi shot 9-10 for 20 points on his debut, whilst Henry topped that with 29 in his, an impressive amount for a player whose career high to this point is only 19. Whilst this level of production is obviously not sustainable, Casspi and Henry are set to earn only the minimum salary next season. Casspi’s is fully guaranteed, but Henry’s isn’t even guaranteed for one single dollar. These two players, then, have shown they could potentially be valuable contributors for as good of as value as is possible. Casspi has struggled since his rookie season when he showed true promise as a free roaming off-the-ball offensive player, but who started to succumb to similarly free roaming tendencies defensively. Henry, meanwhile, was nothing short of poor in his first three seasons, struggling badly to make a shot from any portion of the court, not being able to create any, and not being consistent with his potentially good defense. There’s a reason these players were available for so cheap – they weren’t working out, and multiple teams had given up on them ever doing so. However, this doesn’t mean the players are, or suddenly became, talentless. Casspi and Henry were first round picks as recently as four and three years ago, respectively, and are 25 and 22 years old. There is still some talent in the fire. Someone just needs to throw a log […]

Posted by at 7:35 PM