Ryan Knaus

The Numbers Game

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Free Agent Frenzy: Cs and RFAs

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Restricted Free Agents


Eric Bledsoe - The Suns may try to short-circuit the RFA process by handing Bledsoe a massive contract offer as soon as free agency begins, rather than waiting for him to present them with another team's offer sheet. Yahoo! Sports reported in early June that Bledsoe may earn a max-salary contract, which is within reason for the 24-year-old who averaged 17.7 points, 1.2 threes, 4.7 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.6 steals last season. He has suffered through two injury-shortened campaigns in his four-year career, but that shouldn't dissuade fantasy owners from snagging him in the early rounds. UPDATE: The Bucks or Lakers may give Bledsoe a huge offer sheet but he's already in 'preliminary' contract talks with the Suns, who are expected to match any offer.


Greg Monroe - A few reports have suggested that the Pelicans might try to land Monroe via a sign-and-trade, sending Ryan Anderson to the Pistons, but for now that's a speculative scenario. Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy has suggested that he might balk at a near-max contract for Monroe, especially if Detroit doesn't find a way to clear ill-fitting Josh Smith from their frontcourt. One thing is certain -- there will be no shortage of suitors for Monroe. UPDATE: ESPN's Marc Stein has cited the Magic, Blazers and Hawks as teams with definite interest in Monroe.


Chandler Parsons - The Rockets strategically declined Parsons' cheap fourth-year option to make him a restricted FA this summer, and they're unlikely to let him leave unless it's part of a larger plan to acquire a star. The former second-round pick had a do-it-all season for Houston, notching 16.6 points, 1.8 triples, 5.5 boards, 4.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game on his way to top-40 fantasy value. UPDATE: The Mavericks are expected to meet with Parsons and pursue him if they miss out on Carmelo and LeBron, but the Rockets will likely match any offer (unless they are the ones who get Melo or LBJ). UPDATE: The Mavericks landed Parsons on a huge three-year contract worth $46 million. In doing so, they basically called the Rockets' bluff since Houston could have kept him on a paltry rookie-scale deal this season before potentially losing him as an unrestricted FA next summer -- by declining to match Dallas' offer, they've essentially given him up anyway without the benefit of another season's worth of bargain-basement production.


Isaiah Thomas - The Kings' reported desire to sign Shaun Livingston as their starting PG suggests that they may decline to match a lucrative offer for IT2, despite his terrific play in 2013-14. With heavy playing time and the trust of coach Mike Malone, Thomas racked up 20.3 points per game on 45.3 percent FGs and 85.0 percent FTs. He added 1.8 threes, 2.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals to become a top-10 fantasy PG, but that lofty value can only be maintained if he finds a secure starting job in 2014-15. UPDATE: The Suns acquired Thomas via sign-and-trade on a deal worth $27 million over four years.


Gordon Hayward - The Suns are among the teams eager to give Hayward a massive offer sheet, which may approach the maximum-allowable salary, but reports suggest that the Jazz won't balk at matching. They wouldn't make such a hefty investment without intending to keep him as a franchise centerpiece, so if he stays in Utah he'll have a good chance to increase last year's 16.2 points on 13.4 shot attempts per game. His 41.3 percent shooting was a drag for fantasy owners, but that didn't prevent him from racking up fourth-round value in eight-cat leagues. UPDATE: The Jazz matched the Hornets' max offer sheet for Hayward, worth $63 million over four years.


P.J. Tucker - The Suns want to re-sign Tucker, but as usual it depends on the size of the offer sheet he brings back from another team. Tucker implied that he'll pursue the biggest payday possible, saying, "It's like the best and worst situation. I'm going to be in a better position business-wise, but maybe I have to go to a team that's not so good ... [The Suns] have talked to me and said they want to have me back." His ceiling is late-round fantasy value, so approach him with caution on draft day. UPDATE:  The Suns retained Tucker with a three-year, $16.5 million contract.


Avery Bradley - Boston's decision to draft Marcus Smart shouldn't impact their desire to retain Bradley, though his solid 2013-14 season (14.9 points, 39.5 percent from downtown) will ensure that they face plenty of competition for the 23-year-old SG. UPDATE: Bradley earned himself a nice contract, re-signing with Boston for $32 million over four years.


Patrick Patterson - The Raptors' qualifying offer was $4.3 million so they're serious about wanting to keep him, but they might balk at a big offer since they already have Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, Chuck Hayes and Jonas Valanciunas under contract. Pat-Pat has a nice pick-and-pop game and he can extend out to 3-point range, but mediocre defensive stats and limited playing time have conspired to limit his fantasy value in the NBA. UPDATE: Patterson has agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal to stay with the Raptors.


Greivis Vasquez - Vasquez has a $3 million qualifying offer but he'll likely earn a higher annual salary as a free agent. The Raptors may view him as a fallback plan if they lose Kyle Lowry, but if they keep Lowry the arrival of Lou Williams could also make Vasquez expendable. The 27-year-old Venezuelan has been blunt about his desire for a starting PG role, adding another layer of complication to the Raptors' backcourt this summer. Keep in mind that even during his best NBA season, with New Orleans in 2012-13, Vasquez was still only a mid-round value in eight-cat leagues. UPDATE: Vasquez agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal with the Raptors.


Pero Antic - Antic shot 16.7 percent in the playoffs, taking the shine off an otherwise solid rookie season. If he stays in Atlanta he'll back up Al Horford at center, a role unlikely to yield much fantasy value. UPDATE: Antic was never a true free agent, but the Hawks have now officially guaranteed his $1.3 million salary for 2014-15.


We're still awaiting official word on qualifying offers for Shelvin Mack (UPDATE: The Hawks made Mack a qualifying offer, so he’s now a restricted FA), Mike Scott (UPDATE: He has received a QO), Kevin Seraphin (UPDATE: The Wizards kept Seraphin on a one-year deal via their qualifying offer) and Jordan Crawford (UPDATE: The Warriors didn’t give Crawford a QO, so he’s now unrestricted).


Player Options/Early Termination Options:


Tim Duncan - Duncan picked up his $10.3 million player option to chase yet another championship with the Spurs.


Zach Randolph - The Grizzlies and Randolph agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract extension, which keeps him under contract for a total of three years at $36.5 million. He hasn't cracked sixth-round roto value since 2010-11 on a cumulative basis, despite missing only nine games over the past two seasons.


Rudy Gay - Gay opted-in for the final year of his contract at $19.3 million, and the Kings are expected to negotiate an extension this summer. His decision to stay in Sacramento is perfect for fantasy purposes, as he returned top-40 value over the final three months of the season.


Chauncey Billups - The Pistons will not pick up Billups' team option and he's likely to retire this summer, though he may join an NBA front office or coaching staff as soon as the 2014-15 season. UPDATE: Billups has been working out in Las Vegas and he plans to sign another NBA contract before calling it a career.


Nate Robinson - Nate picked up his $2.1 million player option. He's coming off ACL surgery performed in January and should be ready for opening night, but there's too much risk to recommend the veteran guard for fantasy purposes.


Amare Stoudemire - The Knicks will get Amare back for another season after he declined to exercise his early-termination option. He'll earn a whopping $23.4 million, but even if Carmelo Anthony leaves the Knicks can't lean on him too heavily -- his balky knees limited him to an average of 22.6 minutes in 65 appearances last season.


Andrea Bargnani - Bargnani will stay with the Knicks and earn $11.5 million next season, and he'll try to bounce back from a 2013-14 campaign in which he missed 40 games due to injury.


Andrei Kirilenko - Kirilenko opted in for the final year of his deal with Brooklyn, worth $3.3 million.


Darrell Arthur - Arthur picked up his $3.4 million option to stay in Denver for another season.


Jonas Jerebko - Jerebko picked up his $4.5 million player option and coach Stan Van Gundy even named him as one of seven players at the "core" of the Pistons.


Just for fun


Tracy McGrady - T-Mac's NBA career is over, but he's still entertaining to write about. At the moment he's fulfilling a life-long dream by pitching for the Sugarland Skeeters in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He's compiled a 6.75 ERA in four starts, lasting an average of 1.55 innings per start with a total of zero strikeouts and 10 walks, but on the plus side he's given national exposure to the otherwise obscure Skeeters.


Gilbert Arenas - The artist formerly self-referenced as 'Hibachi' is still hopeful that he can resurrect his NBA career, but the odds of a comeback recall another of his nicknames, Agent Zero. He last played for the Shanghai Sharks (Yao Ming's team) in 2012-13, averaging 20.7 points in 27.3 minutes per game, but remember this is the same league that enabled Stephon Marbury to become an MVP candidate in his mid-30s. Arenas, it should be noted, is still under probation after being arrested last year with more than 100 pounds of fireworks in his SUV.


Phew. Teams are barred from discussing players until free agency officially opens at 12:01am on Tuesday, so we can anticipate a deluge of updates in the near future. Enjoy!

Despite residing in Portland, Maine, Ryan Knaus remains a heartbroken Sonics fan who longs for the days of Shawn Kemp and Xavier McDaniel. He has written for Rotoworld.com since 2007. You can follow him on Twitter.
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