Bobby Marks: Re: the $37M left on the contract of Joakim Noah. Same situation played out in 2003 with Dikembe Mutombo and New Jersey. Mutombo gave back $10M of the $37M owed but earned it back in his next contract (with NYK). This is the case study that New York should follow.
In order to maximize their salary-cap flexibility in the offseason, the Heat turned to bonuses with Dion Waiters and Olynyk when it came to their playing time. With Waiters, the bonus was $1.1 million for appearing in at least 70 games. That possibility erased with Waiters’ Jan. 23 ankle surgery, ending his season after 30 appearances.
But Olynyk remains on the clock, with a $1 million bonus for playing at least 1,700 minutes during the regular season, which would eclipse his previous career high of 1,538 in 2016-17 with the Boston Celtics.
DeAndre Jordan came close to being dealt to the Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, but the deal fell through because the Clippers were unwilling to absorb Iman Shumpert’s salary. This makes the summer ahead that much more interesting for Jordan. With the salary cap flattening, only seven teams are expected to have over $10 million in cap space. There were 10 such teams last summer and 25 in 2016, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Brian Windhorst recently wrote. A dearth of free-agent funds will lead to a hard choice for Jordan, who has a player option worth $24.1 million for the 2018-19 season. But multiple league executives think it’s unlikely that he’d receive that type of money annually on the open market. Most of the teams that are expected to have money, like the Hawks, 76ers, and Nets, don’t need an expensive 30-year-old rim-running center, and the teams that do need one won’t have to pay him max money.
Multiple executives and agents think DeAndre Jordan’s decision might depend more on where he wants to play than the money he can make. Jordan said on February 9 that he wants to be somewhere he’s wanted, and he doesn’t know whether that can be said about the Clippers. Still, you need to be careful about the emotional roller coaster players experience ahead of free agency. Jordan might not have been happy to have been shopped in January and February, but things can change by June.
The expectation is that the Heat will explore moving the final two years of Tyler Johnson’s contract as early as this summer, but the backloaded nature of his deal isn’t the only reason that it will be difficult to achieve. In addition to making $19.2 million both next season and in 2019-20 (the final two years of his contract), Johnson confirmed he also has a 15 percent salary bonus if he’s traded. The Heat must pay that trade kicker, which would be worth $3.2 million if he’s traded this summer.