For its part, the franchise is committed to the rapid timeline. They allowed Griffin to pull the plug after handing out two lucrative contracts, paying more than $12 million combined to send Gentry and Van Gundy packing. And now, they’re giving Griffin the flexibility to hire yet another coach. One who wants to work with Williamson, and channel his frustration into passion toward turning the franchise into a winning direction. It shouldn’t be a hard sell. Sources indicate the issue is far more about losing games than anything intrinsically about New Orleans, including the small market footprint.
More Rumors in this Storyline
There never was a time when it made financial sense for a star player to bypass a maximum extension or contract for the qualifying offer and it still doesn’t. In fact, the practice isn’t even common around average players just so they can enter unrestricted free agency and play elsewhere.
Since restricted free agency has been implemented, there have been few cases of players demanding trades from teams that drafted them, namely Steve Francis with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Danny Ferry with the Los Angeles Clippers. However, with the value of qualifying offers increasing significantly, and player empowerment breaking new barriers each season, it’s no surprise that public discourse over the possibility of a premier player utilizing the qualifying offer has gotten louder.
The one success story of a player who signed his qualifying offer to gain his freedom is Greg Monroe. In 2014, he came off a strong season with the Pistons meeting his previous season’s statistical averages. After four years in Detroit, he wanted a fresh start elsewhere but his restricted free agent status complicated that.
Without much leverage to get out, Monroe signed his one-year qualifying offer. In 2015 he became an unrestricted free agent and signed a three-year maximum deal worth $49.9 million with Milwaukee. His qualifying offer was worth $5.5 million while the first-year salary of a maximum contract he could’ve received in 2014 was roughly $10 million more.
Signing the qualifying offer can be very disadvantageous to players too. Williamson has a strong chance of qualifying for the designated rookie maximum extension over the next two seasons. If he signs his $17.6 million qualifying offer and then decides he wants to re-sign with New Orleans on a long-term deal afterward, he wouldn’t be eligible for the designated rookie maximum extension anymore. His is currently projected at $211.5 million over five years. Eligible players must begin the contract in their fifth season, but he can still sign for the normal 25 percent maximum contract with them. Meanwhile, signing his qualifying offer and signing a maximum contract with a new team would net him $148.3 million over that same five year span.
Naturally, Knicks fans went into a frenzy trying to decipher the young All Star’s comments. ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski did his best to explain that Williamson’s answer is “something to watch” over the next the few years. “I think it’s something to watch down the road,” Wojnarowski told Mike Greenberg in an appearance on Get Up! on Monday. “I think if you follow Zion Williamson closely, he doesn’t just talk to talk. He’s pretty particularl with what he says and when he says it… Listen, he’s a long way away from free agency. He’s only in his second year in the NBA. But, I think with the way that the Knicks have been rejuvenated, the success you’re seeing them have here in the short term anyway, I don’t think it was completely by accident… I think we all know with New York, if you have a competent product on the floor, if that team is run well, Madison Square Garden and New York is a place that players should want to play. We’ll see how New York is able to carry that forward to a time where it’s a more timely conversation with players like Zion Williamson.”
Storyline Hype Rumor visits per day for the last week
Views per day
August 2, 2021 | 7:49 am EDT Update
There is a strong possibility that Howard returns for a third go-around with the Lakers. Howard won a title with the Lakers in 2020, but he bolted to the 76ers last season. Now, there appears to be interest on both sides to have Howard back for his physical and defensive play. Howard, 35, averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes last season in Philadelphia, his 17th in the NBA.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on what he’s conveyed to Bulls about a potential extension. If Bulls decide to take route to cap space, pursuing upgrades through free agency or renegotiating + extending LaVine’s current contract are two options on table.
Barry Jackson: ESPN reports tonight that New Orleans and Dallas – two Lowry suitors – have begun to look elsewhere for point guards. The Dragic/Achiuwa package should get this done for Lowry barring any late issues; Achiuwa hasn’t yet been informed because talks can’t begin until 6 p.m. Monday.
Donatas Urbonas: Ignas Brazdeikis will play for the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League, per sources. Brazdeikis averaged 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2 assists in 8 NBA games with Orlando last season.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on keeping up with Bulls’ free agency from Tokyo: “I should have a good idea what’s going on. I take that very serious, keep up to date with what’s going on back home, but obviously still get my rest cause we got a game tomorrow. One way or another I’ll find out.”
August 2, 2021 | 1:19 am EDT Update
“It looks like [Kawhi] is expected to re-sign with the Clippers, but sources informed me that he will listen to other teams.” @ChrisBHaynes on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency