According to The Athletic’s Shams Chrania, Clippers forward JaMychal Green will decline his player option for $5M next season and enter unrestricted free agency.
We knew this was a possibility for Green, whose $5M salary was both a bit of a bargain for the Clippers last season and less than his projected impact for next year. However, the suppressed free agency market and number of quality depth big men available put the option in play for Green.
Until we have more information regarding Green’s free agency, it’s hard to make a firm prediction regarding what his contract will look like. I do still feel like the Clippers should be in the driver’s seat to keep him, as they have his bird rights and he’s seemed to enjoy his time in LA. But competitive offers could force LAC to increase Green’s offer to the 3-year, $24M range–still a good price considering the impact he makes as a 3-and-D PF/C who can space the floor, switch defensively, and rebound well. Alternatively, he could return at a price point closer to or even slightly lower than $5M if interest from other teams is lower. Adding multiple years of guaranteed money can sometimes be worth it for players even if their annual salary doesn’t get the big hike they were looking for.
Green has shown a willingness to work with the Clippers in the past; last year, there were no reports indicating that he was overly active in seeking a deal from another team while he waited for the Clippers to resolve their big-ticket free agency items. Then, he re-signed for the room exception at the end of free agency when that was the only tool LAC had left, even though he was likely worth more.
The Clippers’ big questions when tomorrow’s free agency window opens are with Marcus Morris, Montrezl Harrell, Green, and the mid-level exception.
If one of Morris or Harrell leave and the Clippers can re-sign the other and Green for a combined ~18M or less, they should have access to the $9.3M non-taxpayer mid-level exception to add an outside free agent. If they keep all three, or have to splurge above that price point, they’ll likely end up with just the $5.7M taxpayer mid-level exception.
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