2022 Player and Team Options: What happens with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, more

2022 Player and Team Options: What happens with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, more

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2022 Player and Team Options: What happens with James Harden, Kyrie Irving, more

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With the NBA Finals over, multiple players have option dates due within the next few weeks. Free agency begins on June 30, 2022, but all options will have been exercised or not by the day before.

There are exactly 21 players with pending team options and 19 players with player options. Two of which have already been decided on with Thunder center Derrick Favors officially picking up his $10.2 million player option. Also, JaMychal Green and Trey Burke will exercise their respective $8.2 million and $3.3 million player options to facilitate their recent trades.

While there are several other no-brainer decisions out there, most option decisions historically are made on the day they’re due. Here is a rundown of all 40 players with options and a prediction of their outcome.

James Harden (Philadelphia)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $47,366,760

Harden’s offseason can go so many different ways, which makes his decision perhaps the most complicated out of anyone on this list. Opting in to his $47.3 million amount could indicate a desire to maximize his earnings. He has already $270 million in career earnings and could make an additional $270 million over the next five years through an opt-in-and-extend. However, a strong season along with a potentially stronger free agency market with more cap space in 2023 won’t guarantee him maximum earnings. There may not be a full maximum contract offer for him now, but he could still earn maximum dollars on a short-term extension after he opts in.

Prediction: Harden opts in

John Wall (Houston)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $47,366,760

Wall has played in just 40 games in the three seasons of his supermax deal. He has earned $123.8 million so far for an average of $3.1 million per game he’s appeared in. Wall should become a buyout candidate once he opts in, which he reportedly is already expected to do.

Prediction: Wall opts in

Russell Westbrook (LA Lakers)

Russell Westbrook, LA Lakers

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Player option amount: $47,063,478

Had Westbrook played well this season, he may have been a candidate to opt out and re-sign with the Lakers on a new long-term deal. Such a deal could’ve had a significantly lower salary in 2022-23 with more guaranteed money on the backend like Chris Paul’s deal with Phoenix last year. It seems improbable at this point that Westbrook will opt out, especially since it’s unclear where his next deal will start at.

Prediction: Westbrook opts in

Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn)

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $36,934,550

Irving’s decision may be the most unpredictable given his recent history. It’s unclear if he would want to play with any other team besides the Nets and there aren’t many competitive options out there for him. It seems more likely that Irving will remain in Brooklyn long term but his unavailability could have them requiring concessions on his next deal. His long-term future could be decided later, especially since he will be extension-eligible all throughout next season if he opts in.

Prediction: Irving opts in

Bradley Beal (Washington)

Bradley Beal celebrates after a play

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $36,422,136

Beal has already indicated that he’s leaning towards declining his $36.4 million player option to re-sign with the Wizards on a maximum contract. While there may not be maximum offers for Harden out there, Beal is still young enough with enough upside for a cap space team to offer him a max, including Portland who is reportedly interested in him. As long as the projected five-year, $247.7 million contract is on the table, look for Beal to remain in Washington.

Prediction: Beal opts out

PJ Tucker (Miami)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Player option amount: $7,350,000

Tucker just had one of his best seasons and perhaps his most impactful one from a playoff perspective. He was also his most efficient with 59 percent true shooting while making 41.5 percent from three. The 37-year-old has been immune to regression and should have suitors from competitive teams for at least a large portion of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception projected at $10.3 million. If Tucker opts out, Miami can give him a slightly higher salary than his player option amount at $8.4 million. It seems like a good bet he should at least receive that amount if he were to opt out and re-sign with the Heat.

Prediction: Tucker opts out

Patrick Mills (Brooklyn)

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $6,184,500

Mills started the season shooting the lights out but slowly regressed as the season went on. Still, the veteran guard remains one of the most reliable three-point shooters off the bench that many playoff teams would covet. The Warriors and Lakers reportedly pursued him last offseason and could offer him the taxpayer MLE projected at $6.4 million. If those offers are still out there, which are higher than his player option amount, then it makes sense for him to opt out. Brooklyn can give Mills up to a $7.1 million starting salary through his Non Bird rights if he opts out.

Prediction: Mills opts out

Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee)

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $5,728,393

Connaughton had a career-best season and was heavily depended on by the Bucks when Khris Middleton went down in the playoffs. He’s proven to be a reliable two-way wing player that many teams could use. Milwaukee has limited means to improve the roster beyond the taxpayer MLE. If they were to lose Connaughton, they’ll just be using it to replace him instead of improving the roster overall. The Bucks can’t afford to lose any of their key role players, which could give him enough leverage to opt out and re-sign on a deal with a higher annual salary with more years.

Prediction: Connaughton opts out

Kendrick Nunn (LA Lakers)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Player option amount: $5,250,000

Nunn has already indicated that he plans on exercising his player option after missing the entire 2021-22 season with a bone bruise. He could be in line for a big role in the Lakers rotation next season or become a trade candidate since he is one of their above-minimum salaries that could be used for salary matching.

Prediction: Nunn opts in

Cory Joseph (Detroit)

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $5,155,500

Joseph may have a home in Detroit as he has a strong role within the rotation. The backup point guard market isn’t looking particularly strong with the lack of available free agents in that position. It seems like he’s in a good situation and will stick around.

Prediction: Joseph opts in

Bobby Portis (Milwaukee)

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $4,564,980

Portis may have left a lot of money on the table fresh off of winning a championship by re-signing with the Bucks on a deal that paid him $4.3 million. It was the most they were allowed to pay him through his Non-Bird rights, which allowed them to use their MLE to bring back George Hill. Portis is now set to become an Early Bird free agent, allowing the Bucks to re-sign him for up to four years, projected at $49 million. They now have a chance to re-sign him to a deal that properly pays him if he opts out, and offers for him should exceed his player option amount.

Prediction: Portis opts out

Jeff Green (Denver Nuggets)

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $4,500,000

Green is reportedly expected to exercise his player option and remain with the Nuggets. He worked hard to finally get an above-minimum salary after four consecutive seasons at that rate. The soon-to-be 36-year-old forward had a strong year with an elevated role in Denver given all their injuries. He should still have interest league-wide, but it’s unclear if he will have a market above his player option amount. He should continue to have an important role in the Nuggets’ rotation especially after they traded JaMychal Green.

Prediction: Green opts in

Nicolas Batum (LA Clippers)

Nicolas Batum

Player option amount: $3,328,530

Like Bobby Portis did with the Bucks, Batum re-signed with the Clippers on a one-plus-one at his Non-Bird maximum amount. He benefitted greatly from the change of scenery and probably declined higher offers on the market last  offseason. Several competitive teams could offer him the MLE, but the Clippers now have a financial advantage by being able to offer him a higher annual rate through his Early Bird rights. Look for the Clippers, a team with one of the biggest spending advantages in the league, to take care of Batum.

Prediction: Batum opts out

Tony Bradley (Chicago)

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $2,036,318

Bradley wasn’t in the Bulls’ rotation despite being a solid backup center, so it would make sense if he were to opt out and seek more playing time elsewhere. His player option amount is worth the veteran minimum, so opting out shouldn’t be a difficult decision provided that there’s at least a minimum offer out there.

Prediction: Bradley opts out

Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $1,878,720

Antetokounmpo is expected to pick up his player option and remain in Milwaukee. He would’ve had full Bird rights if he opted out but it’s unclear if there’s a market for him. It seems like a good bet that Thanasis will continue to be a Buck as long as Giannis is there.

Prediction: Antetokounmpo opts in

Svi Mykhailiuk (Toronto)

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Player option amount: $1,878,720

Mykhailiuk’s player option decision could go down to the wire, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. If that’s the case, it may be safer for him to opt in and potentially get to a situation with more playing time via trade or waiver later.

Prediction: Mykhailiuk opts in

Ivica Zubac (LA Clippers)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $7,518,518

Zubac is one of the more underrated and underappreciated starting centers out there, especially at his $7.5 million amount. Look for the Clippers to bring him back and potentially discuss a long-term extension with him.

Prediction: Clippers pick up Zubac’s option

Hamidou Diallo (Detroit)

Hamidou Diallo attacking the rim

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $5,200,000

Diallo’s role changed in Detroit with Cade Cunningham now in the picture and his future there may be more up in the air if they draft a backcourt player with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft. They may also need to clear their books if they want to maximize their cap space this offseason, which could include declining Diallo’s option. However, $5.2 million is still a very fair price for him, and the Pistons have other avenues to easily clear cap space without cutting him.

Prediction: Pistons pick up Diallo’s option

Mike Muscala (Oklahoma City)

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Team option amount: $3,500,000

Muscala is one of the few veterans on this extremely young Thunder team. They will have a roster crunch to address later, but Muscala seems like a solid bet to remain due to his price tag, and the potential to move him down the line if he wants to play for a competitive team. His $3.5 million amount is one of the bigger salaries they could use for salary matching in a trade.

Prediction: Thunder pick up Muscala’s option

Frank Jackson (Detroit)

Team option amount: $3,150,000

Detroit may have a logjam at both guard positions that could get deeper after the draft, but Jackson remains a great value at his team option amount.

Prediction: Pistons pick up Jackson’s option

Trey Lyles (Sacramento)

Team option amount: $2,625,000

The Kings went through a major shakeup at the trade deadline that could extend into the offseason. Most of the roster is very much in flux but they need as much depth as possible in case they make a consolidation trade. With that said, Lyles’ $2.6 million is a great value worth keeping around.

Prediction: Kings pick up Lyle’s option

Stanley Johnson (LA Lakers)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $2,351,521

The Lakers will once again likely have a roster with 9-10 players earning the veteran minimum due to their lack of flexibility and available exceptions. Johnson was one of the few bright spots they had in that department, so it wouldn’t make sense to part with a player that has worked out for them so far.

Prediction: Lakers pick up Johnson’s option

Shake Milton (Philadelphia 76ers)

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $1,997,718

Philadelphia could’ve considered declining Milton’s option to allow him to enter restricted free agency, but he no longer has eligibility for it since he already has four years of service. Unless they have other options in mind for the backup guard position, keeping Milton at a near-minimum amount is a no-brainer.

Prediction: Sixers pick up Milton’s option

Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City)

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $1,930,681

Dort has been arguably one of the biggest values in the league at his four-year minimum contract. He is currently extension-eligible with the Thunder and will continue to be provided they pick up his team option. The main reason to consider declining him is to allow him to enter restricted free agency and re-sign him on a deal worth more money than the maximum four years, $56 million he is eligible for. However, doing so could put them over the luxury tax next season if they also use their remaining $23.4 million in cap space that expires by June 30.

If Dort intends on testing the market, Oklahoma City might as well let him do so in the 2023 offseason when they’re currently projected to generate close to $50 million in cap space. Dort will have a very small cap hold, allowing them to utilize close to that full cap space amount and be able to re-sign him afterward with his Bird rights. The only risk they’re taking is that he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2023, but that won’t matter if he bypasses an extension.

Prediction: Thunder pick up Dort’s option

Jaylen Nowell (Minnesota)

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $1,930,681

Nowell might not have a consistent role in Minnesota’s rotation, but he’s worth keeping at his team option amount.

Prediction: Timberwolves pick up Nowell’s option

Naz Reid (Minnesota)

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Team option amount: $1,930,681

Reid has been Minnesota’s primary backup center over the past few seasons but it’s possible they pursue a veteran big man with their MLE. With that said, picking up Reid’s minimum salary is a no-brainer.

Prediction: Timberwolves pick up Reid’s option

Isaiah Roby (Oklahoma City)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Team option amount: $1,930,681

The Thunder are heading into the offseason with 19 players on the roster, including picks 2, 12, and 34 in this year’s draft. They’ll need to move off several players before the start of the regular season, and Roby seems like a logical candidate considering he doesn’t have any money guaranteed going into next season. Even if the Thunder don’t intend on retaining Roby, they could still pick up his option and figure out what to do with him later since his $1.9 million salary becomes fully guaranteed if not waived by July 3, 2022.

Prediction: Thunder picks up Roby’s option, potentially extends his guarantee date, then subsequently trade or waive him.

Jalen McDaniels (Charlotte)

Jalen McDaniels

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Team option amount: $1,930,681

The Hornets could be looking at a luxury tax crunch assuming they re-sign Miles Bridges to a lucrative long-term deal. If so, retaining McDaniels at his $1.9 million amount makes a lot of sense, especially if they can’t reduce their payroll elsewhere.

Prediction: Hornets pick up McDaniels’ option

Dean Wade (Cleveland)

Team option amount: $1,930,681

Wade was a regular in Cleveland’s rotation and often played in their three big lineups. He’s outplayed the value of his contract which will likely incentivize the Cavs to keep him around at that price.

Prediction: Cavaliers pick up Wade’s option

Wenyen Gabriel (LA Lakers)

Team option amount: $1,878,720

As mentioned earlier about Stanley Johnson, the Lakers need as many productive players on minimum contracts since they will likely again take the vast majority of the team’s roster spots this upcoming season. They especially need young players with upside, making Gabriel a keeper on his minimum salary.

Prediction: Lakers pick up Gabriel’s option

Oshae Brissett (Indiana)

Team option amount: $1,846,738

Brissett’s situation is very interesting given Indiana’s intention of being a cap space team this offseason. They are currently projected to generate $25 million in cap space and could open up more in a potential trade involving one of their veterans like Malcolm Brogdon. It would be very advantageous for the Pacers to take advantage of Brissett’s $2 million cap hold to maximize their cap space spending.

Also, this is his final year of restricted free agency eligibility. It would make sense to allow him to test the market and re-sign him on a new deal for multiple years at a higher salary. The savings between what his new annual salary could be and his $1.8 million team option amount isn’t worth potentially losing him in unrestricted free agency next offseason.

Prediction: Pacers decline Brissett’s option, re-sign him to a long-term deal.

Carsen Edwards (Detroit)

Team option amount: $1,815,677

Edwards was brought in at the tail end of last season as an opportunity for Detroit to evaluate him. They are going to have a roster crunch to deal with soon assuming they bring back Cory Joseph and Hamidou Diallo, and re-sign Marvin Bagley. Edwards could be a cap casualty if the Pistons need to open up more cap space, and they could make him a restricted free agent if they decline his team option.

Prediction: Pistons decline Edwards’ option

Juwan Morgan (Boston)

Team option amount: $1,815,677

Boston signed Morgan at the end of the season but hasn’t given him enough reps yet. It would make sense to keep him at his rate and give him an opportunity to be in their rotation next season.

Prediction: Celtics pick up Morgan’s option

Jae'Sean Tate (Houston)

(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Team option amount: $1,782,621

Tate still has another year of restricted free agency eligibility in 2023, and the Rockets won’t benefit from his low cap hold this offseason since they aren’t expected to be a cap space team.

Prediction: Rockets pick up Tate’s option

Kessler Edwards (Brooklyn)

Team option amount: $1,563,518

Brooklyn will likely keep Edwards this season, but it could involve declining his team option. Doing so would make him a restricted free agent and they’d be allowed to re-sign him for up to four years, $8.3 million. Using his Non Bird rights to give him a longer deal seems like the pragmatic move.

Prediction: Nets decline Edwards’ option, re-sign him to a long-term deal

Luka Garza (Detroit)

Team option amount: $1,563,518

The main reason to decline Garza is either to give him a longer deal or if they don’t plan on having him on the team next year. He still has two more years of restricted free agency eligibility, so it would make sense to run it back with him and see if he can take a leap this season.

Prediction: Pistons pick up Garza’s option

Sam Hauser (Boston)

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Team option amount: $1,563,518

If the Celtics pick up Hauser, his salary for next year will contain a $300,000 partial guarantee. It would make sense to keep him through the offseason, then evaluate his status with the team closer to opening night.

Prediction: Celtics pick up Hauser’s option

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