Welcome to the offseason, NBA fans. Now that the Finals are over and the Golden State Warriors are the champions of the league again, it’s time to look ahead. That means we’ll be breaking down free agent profiles all week.
And while we’ll get to the big fish next week, it’s all about the positional breakdowns this week. Starting tomorrow, that is. Monday brought us our restricted free agents. Today, we tackle centers.*
*DeMarcus Cousins will be covered in more depth before free agency
DeAndre Jordan has two questions to ask himself when it comes to his player option. The first is how much value he is likely to lose by aging another year. Centers can fall off of a cliff very, very quickly. Case in point: Greg Monroe got a max-deal three summers ago. He never got hurt. He is getting the minimum this summer. The market won’t exactly be robust for Jordan this summer, but he was still playing at around his peak level last year. Staying off of the market for another year could risk that.
The second is who might actually be interested in him. If this weren’t such a center-heavy draft, he’d have more options. But Phoenix, Atlanta, Sacramento and Dallas are four of the teams that could make him competitive offers and it seems like at least three of them, if not four, are going to draft centers. Chicago might as well, and even if they weren’t, the Bulls aren’t trying to win right now. Most of the cap space teams are off of the board.
Jordan would have to feel comfortable in his ability to orchestrate a sign-and-trade in order to opt out. Milwaukee, Washington, Portland and Minnesota might all have interest. None have particularly compelling assets to trade, and all three would have a hard time working under the hard cap a sign-and-trade would present. That makes Jordan opting in by far the likeliest scenario. With more cap space available, he’ll be able to find a multi-year option.