As the first round of free agent decisions comes in this week—Melo! LeBron! Swaggy P!—speculation about the near-future of any franchise with cap space is going bonkers. The NBA Draft is on June 26th and NBA Free Agency is slated to begin on July 1, the official date when teams can make contact with free agents. The NBA’s chess board could see some serious shuffling after that. Every chessman is equally important, from the pawns to the knights, bishops and rooks, so we’ve decided to track every free agent decision. You may not care that Jason Richardson—yup, he’s still in the NBA—opted into his contract with the 76ers, but when it comes time to figure out how your team can build around a superstar, you’ll want to know who’s up for grabs. Here’s a list of free agents who’ve made their decisions so far.
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LeBron James -- Accepts Early Termination Option
By accepting his Early Termination Option with the Miami Heat, LeBron James is an unrestricted free agent..again. The Decision 2 sound familiar to anybody?
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that LeBron is trying to impose pressure on the Heat and Pat Riley to improve the roster and spend money. Keep in mind that every member of the “Big Three” could opt out in order to sign lesser deals with Miami to improve the roster. At this point, LeBron is merely flexing on the Heat, but the fire is on regardless.2 of 25
Chris Anderson -- opted out
Birdman is opting out of his deal with the Miami Heat. No, it’s not LeBron, Bosh, or Wade but Chris Andersen was a pivotal piece to Miami’s success the past few seasons. He averaged 6.6 points and 5.3 rebounds this season. Andersen was due to make the league minimum — about $1.5 million — and will test his value on the open market. The Birdman either believes that someone will pay him for his services, or the Heat will offer him more money. He was due to make the league minimum, so he won’t lose money leaving Miami.3 of 25
Udonis Haslem -- opted out
The 10-year vet, who shares an agent with Heatles Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, opted out of a $4.9 million year on his deal purportedly to free up money for Miami to add personnel to help the team contend.
It’s an epically unselfish move as Haslem’s likely entering the final phase of his career, having accepted a reduced role this season. He started only six of Miami’s 16 postseason games and averaged a mere 2.5 pp and 2.6 rpg in 10 minutes off the bench, part of a career-low season for the Florida native (3.8 ppg and 3.8 rpg for the 2013-14 season.)4 of 25
Carmelo Anthony -- opted out
To the surprise of nobody—besides insane Knicks fans, which is all of them—Carmelo Anthony opted out of the final year of his Knicks deal.
The Knicks can offer Carmelo the most money, five years for $129 million, but he wants to explore his options. The problem is that Melo wants to chase rings, but the Knicks roster can’t even walk towards them at this point. The playoffs aren’t even a sure shot for the Knicks next season if Melo comes back.
The Bulls and Rockets appear as the biggest contenders to earn the services of Carmelo this summer.5 of 25
Nick Young -- opted out
Coming off a career year, it’s not really a shocker that Swaggy P wants to be paid more than the $1.2 million that was on the table. The LA-native who lead the Lakers in scoring* has said that he’d give his hometown team a discount when it comes time to deal but he’s in the market for a multi-year deal now that he’s all Fancy.
*In a Kobe-less season.6 of 25
Tim Duncan -- opts in for $10 million
Tim Duncan, the quintessential professional, opted in for $10 million to chase another ring. The 5x NBA champion already took a massive pay cut to win titles, so money wasn’t as much a factor in his decision as potentially retiring on top was. We might write off the Spurs for what feels like the 10th season in a row, but it won’t be a surprise if they return to the NBA Finals with Duncan in the saddle.7 of 25
Rudy Gay -- accepts $19.1 million player option
For some reason, the Kings rolled out the red carpet to try and convince Rudy Gay to accept his player option worth $19.1 million. It worked, as Gay decided to stay with Sacramento for another year instead of chasing a long term deal. Rudy Gay might be worth $19.1 million in NBA 2K14, but not on the real hardwood.
Gay, who has been slandered by the analytics crowd for his lack of efficiency, shot 48% in 55 games with the Kings and averaged 20.1 ppgs. He’ll be back in Sactown with Boogie Cousins and Isaiah Thomas if the Kings can convince him to stay also.8 of 25
Amar'e Stoudemire -- opts in for $23.4 million
There might be a world where Amar’e Stoudemire is worth $23 million for playing basketball, but you’ll need a time machine to find it. Stoudemire declined his ETO and will be paid $23.4 million by the Knicks to do something that resembles running next season.9 of 25
Andrea Bargnani -- opts in for $11.5 million
The Raptors were, err, adventurous enough to pick Andrea Bargnani No. 1 overall back in 2006 and now the New York Knicks will be responsible for paying him $11.5 million. The Knicks owe Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani a combined $34.9 million next season—just let that sink in—but, along with Tyson Chandler’s $14.6 million deal, those’ll all free up cap space for 2015. Silver lining?
That’s the Knicks’ future, though. We can sum up Bargnani’s tenure with the Knicks so far in one easy click.
Andrei Kirilenko -- opts in for $3.3 million
AK-47 has opted into the second part of his two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets for $3.3 million. Kirilenko suffered from back ailments all season, suffering career-lows in ppg (5!) and minutes (19 per).
He only averaged 2.5 points in the Nets playoff run to the second-round. AK-47 is 33 years old coming off a disappointing and injury plagued season—few other teams would have offered him a deal at that rate if he didn’t opt in.11 of 25
Andray Blatche -- opted out
Andray Blatche opted out of his contract with the Brooklyn Nets that would have paid him $1.4 million. Blatche is free to sign with any team, but the Nets own his early bird rights, meaning they can offer him more than anyone at 4 years for $25 million. Blatche averaged 11.2 points and 5.4 rebounds last season, so it made sense for him to opt out to earn more than $1.4 million
Money isn’t Blatche’s biggest worry, as he’s still owed $8.4 million in amnesty provisions from the Washington Wizards. The Brooklyn Nets don’t appear to be headed to the NBA Finals anytime soon, so Blatche might want to latch onto a team that’s ready to win a ring.12 of 25
Alan Anderson --opted out
Alan Anderson of the Brooklyn Nets has decided to opt out of the final year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent. The swingman was scheduled to make a little over $1 million next season if he decided to opt in.
After playing 76 games for the Nets (26 starts), Anderson dropped 7.2 ppg in 22.5 mpg. With Paul Pierce and AK-47 in Brooklyn next season, the minutes aren’t available for Anderson. He’s been heralded for his defense and should find a home with another team if he chooses to leave.13 of 25
Nate Robinson -- opts in for $2 million
Nate Robinson has opted in for the 2015 season with the Denver Nuggets. Remember Lil Nate? Unfortunately, his season ended on Jan. 29th after he suffered a torn ACL. He had averaged 10.4 ppg and 2.5 apg before the injury. Coming off of a knee injury, the market for Nate Rob would have been incredibly fragile, he was smart to opt in. He’ll backup Ty Lawson next season, creating the smallest backcourt in NBA history.14 of 25
Darrell Arthur -- opts in for $3.4 million
Darrell Arthur opted in to the final year of his deal with the Denver Nuggets for $3.4 million. Arthur only averaged 5.9 points and 3.1 boards in 17.1 MPG for the Nuggets this past season, so he was smart to extend the life of his NBA career.15 of 25
Channing Frye -- opts out
Channing Frye was owed $6.8 million from the Phoenix Suns if he opted in to the final year of his deal, but he chose to opt out and chase more money in free agency. The Suns will try to work out a longer term deal for the 31-year-old forward who played a key role in the Suns deadly pick-and-pop game with Dragic and Bledsoe this season.
Frye played in all 82 games this season, averaging 11.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg after missing all of the 2012-2013 season due to an enlarged heart. Channing Frye can shoot the trey ball (37 percent this season) and defend his position well for being 6’11″, but his suitors on the open market might balk because of his coronary history.16 of 25
Jason Richardson -- opts in for $6.6 million
Didn’t know Jason Richardson was still in the NBA? Now you do! He’s been with the Philadelphia 76ers the past two season, however he missed all of the 2013-14 season with a lingering knee injury that he suffered in 2012-13.
Richardson’s decision to opt in was a no brainer. The 76ers might try and work a buyout, but Richardson will still be cashing in for $6.6 million this season.17 of 25
Josh McRoberts -- opted out
Bobcats, nee Hornets, foward Josh McRoberts opted out of his deal that would have payed him $2.8 million next season. McBob outperformed his contract with Charlotte (8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 4.3 apg in 78 starts), which is why he’s hitting the open market.
Playing next to Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, McRoberst was a huge piece in the Bobcats’ 43-39 regular season which earned the franchise their first NBA playoff berth since 2010. The Hornets are about $16 million under the cap, so Charlotte has the money to expend on McRoberts if they wish.18 of 25
Darren Collison -- opted out
Darren Collison is opting out of his deal with the Clippers that would have paid him $1.9 million. At only 26 years old, Collison is expected to command some interest on the open market. Collison averaged 13.3 points and and 6.5 assists while leading the Clippers to a 12-6 record when CP3 missed 18 games this season.
Collison wants a long term deal and the Clippers may offer him one, but primarily as a backup to Chris Paul. Collison will have to decide if winning or minutes are more important to him.19 of 25
Glen Davis -- opted out
After signing with the Clippers after the trade deadline, Glen Davis opted out of his deal. He was only due $1.4 million next season, but Davis didn’t exactly impress with the Clippers. In 23 games, Big Baby averaged 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds.
There’s always a market for a 6’9″ 290 lb forward in the league, so Davis should find a home somewhere if not with the Clippers.20 of 25
Danny Granger -- opted out
After being traded to from the Indiana Pacers to the Philadelphia 76ers, Granger agreed to a buyout with Philly. The Los Angeles Clippers signed Granger to a deal and now he’s opting out of the final $1.3 million.
Granger played in 12 regular-season games with LAC, averaging 8.0 points in 16.2 minutes. Danny Granger has suffered from injury issues, but he’s still only 31 years old. The 6’9″ forward is smart to attempt to get more money and years from a team that’s willing to pay.21 of 25
Francisco Garcia -- opted out
While the Rockets are busy trying to court Carmelo Anthony to come to Houston, Francisco Garcia has opted out of his deal. Garcia opting out of his deal saves the Rockets $1.3 million which will be helpful in the chase for Melo.
Garcia averaged 5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds this season and he’s hoping to land with a team that can play him more than 19.7 minutes per game.22 of 25
Joel Anthony -- opted in for $3.8 million
If you didn’t know, Joel Anthony was traded to the Boston Celtics from the Miami Heat at the trade deadline. He’s decided to opt into the final year of his deal worth $3.8 million. Joel Anthony only played 7.1 minutes per game with the Celtics, but it’s unlikely that any other team would have bargained for his services.23 of 25
Mo Williams -- opted out
Trail Blazers guard Mo Williams has opted out of his contract with Portland that would have paid him $2.7 million. Williams has been a consistent scorer for years and averaged 9.7 points per game backing up All-Star Damian Lillard this season. He was a reliable bench player for a team that made the Western Conference Semifinals. Williams believes that he deserves a pay raise and will have several teams bidding for his services.24 of 25
Zach Randolph -- opted in + extension
Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies has accepted his $16.5 million player option for 2014-15. Adding onto the player option, Randolph has also agreed to extend his lifeline with Memphis an additional two seasons after his player option is up. Randolph signed a $20 million deal for two years that will begin in 2015-16.
Z-Bo averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds for the Grizzlies last season. He kept the Grizzlies afloat while Marc Gasol recovered from his injury. Truth be told, no other team seems like a better fit for Z-Bo than the Grizzlies.25 of 25