The star-studded 2019 NBA free-agent class could get even better if certain players decline their player options.
The NBA’s 2019 free-agent class boasts no shortage of star power.
Kevin Durant ($31.5 million), Kawhi Leonard ($21.3 million), Kyrie Irving ($21.3 million), Jimmy Butler ($19.8 million) and Khris Middleton ($13 million) are all locks to decline their respective player options to become unrestricted free agents. All five figure to command max or near-max offers from interested suitors provided they don’t re-sign with their current teams.
While it’s a no-brainer for each of them to decline their player options, the same can’t be said about every potential free agent.
For every Durant, Leonard and Irving, there’s a Tyler Johnson ($19.2 million), Marvin Williams ($15.0 million) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($13 million) who have little chance of matching their annual average salary on a new deal if they opt out. They’ll have to weigh whether to prioritize short-term earning potential on lottery-bound teams or pursue long-term security at the expense of immediate gratification.
The following six players face even more difficult decisions.
Many of them will likely take a pay cut in 2019-20 if they decline their respective player options, but the appeal of long-term contract security may be too great to ignore. Others might believe they could earn even more money next season by becoming free agents, but they may grow to regret that choice if their market proves to be cooler than expected.
If any of the following players opt out, they’ll add even more firepower to this star-studded free-agent class.