Salaries Rumors

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The Heat got themselves an All-Star caliber player for fringe NBA player money. Based on salary and performance (measured by win shares), Whiteside’s contract was actually the best in the NBA in the 2015-16 regular season. The 7-foot center is not even in the Top 400 in salary, but he finished No. 11 in win shares, which is an estimate of the numbers of wins contributed by a player. Each win share cost Miami a mere $95,276, half the amount of the second-biggest bargain in the league.
If Durant signed a multiyear contract to stay with Oklahoma City this summer, the Thunder would have little flexibility to replace either Ibaka or Westbrook via free agency if one of the two left. In conjunction with holds for restricted free agents Steven Adams and Andre Roberson, re-signing one of the two players for the expected 2017-18 maximum salary for players of their experience ($29.5 million) would leave Oklahoma City nearly capped out in the summer of 2017. Barring a sign-and-trade, the Thunder would probably have only the midlevel exception to replace Ibaka or Westbrook if one of them departed. (The team would have cap space if both Ibaka and Westbrook left via free agency.)
Re-signing a one-year deal (or a two-year deal with a player option on the second season) would tie Durant’s free agency to those of Ibaka and Westbrook while also potentially making him more money over the life of his next contract. Because Durant will be a 10-year veteran after 2016-17, he’ll be eligible for a maximum salary starting at 35 percent of the cap rather than the 30 percent he’s limited to now.