There is a lot of high profile players, who have the option to opt out of their player option this summer and become an unrestricted free agent. A majority of these players will be staying with their current team, but a few will be looking to grab a new, bigger deal from this same team, or another team willing to pay them big money. This article will tell you who is going to opt out, and if they do where they could end up. These players are not listed in any order of sort.
1. LeBron James: No
This is a pretty obvious answer. Even if the Cavaliers end up losing in the finals this season, or even winning I think LeBron will come back for another run with Cleveland, in order to hit unrestricted free agency when the cap skyrockets in the 2016 offseason. If Kevin Love opts out of his deal, which I think he will, the Cavaliers should let him walk to sign some better supporting cast members for LeBron to work with.
2. Kevin Love: Yes
As previously stated in the LeBron segment, I think Kevin Love will opt out of his deal. Love does not fit well in the Cavalier’s scheme, chemistry was an issue all season, and Love wants to be the main guy, not the third wheel. With a multitude of teams having a lot of cap room this summer, and expressing interest in Love, he should have no problem finding a new home where they give him a max deal.
3. Dwyane Wade: Yes
Yes Wade will opt out, no he will not leave Miami under any circumstances. Wade has been in Miami his entire career, and after opting out of his bigger deal last offseason to try and bring back LeBron James, Wade feels Pat Riley owes him a new bigger deal this offseason, in the range of three years $60 million. This deal hurts the Heat, as it gives them less flexibility to work with once they have to pay both Wade and Dragic, but Riley and the Heat organization will give Wade the money and respect he deserves.
4. Al Jefferson: Yes
Jefferson just turned 30, and is hitting the last legs of his career. Jefferson does have a good salary for next season, but he could be looking to get a deal done in the 3-4 year mark to give himself some feelings of security. I expect the Hornets to keep Jefferson around, as he a great offensive player that can help them battle in the east.
5. Goran Dragic: Yes
Dragic will be opting out of his deal in hopes of getting a max contract. The Heat will most likely give Dragic this type of deal as Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh, and Whiteside give the Heat one of the best starting fives in basketball. The Heat, after signing both Wade and Dragic will not have a lot of room to fill out their bench, which is in need of a lot of help, so their tenth pick in the draft needs to be able to somewhat contribute early on.
6. Brook Lopez: No
I think Lopez has a great chance to opt out, but if I am his agent there is no way I am letting him do that. Lopez is not worth the $16.7 million he is scheduled to make if he opts in to the final year of his contract. Even when opting in, Lopez will be 28 next offseason and still able to secure a big deal, as he is still in his prime.
7. Monta Ellis: Yes
Monta Ellis is making a pretty good salary for what he is worth. The only reason I see him opting out his to extend his earning power as he approaches 30 at the start of the season. Ellis will probably looking to get a deal in the $9-$11 million range, which should be easily obtainable for him. I feel Ellis grew tired with the Mavericks organization over his time there, and it was pretty obvious once they brought Rondo in. The Mavericks have a chance to keep him, with the expected departure of Rondo, but I feel Ellis will go see what the rest of the league offers.
8. Roy Hibbert: No
Hibbert is getting paid a hefty salary, and with the return of a healthy Paul George for an entire season, Hibbert will likely be opting in to try and make a run for a conference title. Hibbert could decide to opt out and look to acquire a longer deal as he approaches the age of 30, but I think the money is to great this upcoming season for him to pass up.
9. Jeff Green: No
Jeff Green is scheduled to make $9.2 million for next season. That is more than a lot of players, who have way better skills than Green. The Grizzles will be hoping he opts out so they can get rid of Green and his salary, but they will likely be stuck with him for another season. Green can use this next season as a way to try and propel himself to another deal next offseason.
10. Loul Deng: No
Deng has just turned 30, and might want to secure a longer deal, but his value is only going down, as he ages and becomes more susceptible to injury, Deng could use this final season to get his money, and then next offseason be prepared to take a pay cut for more years. Staying with the Heat will also give Deng a great shot at the playoffs, as they will possess a great starting five that can contend with anyone in the east.
11. Thaddeus Young: Yes
Thaddeus Young is a good player getting paid a little less than he deserves. Young is a good, young player that could be used by quite a few teams to use as a good role player, or to draw as a third option for a team with two stars already established. Expect to see Young leave the Nets this offseason, as they are way over the cap and will not be able to offer the money he will want.
12. Eric Gordon: No
A lot of people have linked Gordon with his hometown state of Indiana and the Pacers. Gordon has denied these rumors, and said he really enjoys playing in New Orleans. I do not think Gordon enjoys New Orleans that much, but with a salary of $15.5 million scheduled for Gordon next season there is no way he opts out of that. Gordon is no where near worth that price tag, and he knows he will not get another deal this size. Gordon will also be only 27 next season, so he will be able to get a long term deal done then as well. If Gordon does opt out of his contract expect him to go back to Indiana, as they could really use his skill set.
13. JR Smith: No
Smith has been great this postseason for the Cavaliers. Has this earned him a raise? In my opinion, no. Smith is scheduled to make $6.4 million next season, and for a player that has been as inconsistent as Smith, this is a pretty good salary. Smith’s skill set as a shooter makes him not have to worry about his skill diminishing, as much as a player who relies on athleticism, so this makes him not to worry about getting a long term deal this offseason.
14. David West: No
West is scheduled to make $12.6 million next season, as well as turning 35 in August. No other team will offer him this kind of money, especially considering his age. As seen before with a healthy Paul George, the Pacers along with West and Hibbert can be dominant in the east, and this also another reason for West to opt in to this contract. West could look to opt out of his contract in order for the Pacers to pursue another key player for their team for a championship run, but I do not see West doing this.
15. Paul Pierce: No
Pierce is a mystery to me as whether he will opt in or out. I think his success with the Wizards, and decent salary with them will keep him there, but he also has been linked with the Los Angeles Clippers and a reunion with Doc Rivers. Pierce would also give them the much needed wing help they need in the postseason to compete for the best in the west. In the end, I think Pierce decides to play what could be his final season in Washington. The Wizards, with Pierce and a healthy squad next season could end up being the best in the east.
16. Ed Davis: Yes
I think Ed Davis will be back with the Lakers next season, but just at a higher price tag. Davis has never found the high potential that most people saw in him, but he is still young and a good player for the Lakers to have on their talent depleted roster. Davis will have the ability to leave, as with the Lakers expected to pick between Okafor and Towns, Davis would have to come off the bench, and he could be looking to start. Even that being said, Davis will stay in purple and gold next season.
17. Arron Afflalo: Yes
Afflalo, if he opts in or out will likely be staying in the same price range as he is now. Afflalo did not perform that well for the Trailblazers, so I think it a mutual decision to separate. The Bulls have been linked with Afflalo for the past few years, and could make a run at him, but I do not think they will end up together. The Hornets would be a good location for Afflalo, as he could come in and start, as well as fill a need for the Hornets with perimeter shooting.
18. Corey Brewer: No
Brewer has a skill set that any contending team could use. Even with that being said, his salary would not increase that much if he left, so staying in Houston might be his best bet. This is not a bad choice in anyway, as the Rockets will again next season be a top team in the western conference. Brewer will provide them the ability to stretch the floor and lay good defense.
19. Gerald Henderson: Yes
Sometimes you just need to know when to move on from a situation. Henderson never had a great career in Charlotte, but it was not bad career either. A change of scenario will help Henderson develop into a better player, and allow for the Hornets to replace him with a hopefully better alternative. Henderson could look into staying for one more season, as he will probably not get the same type of money he is receiving now, but could look to play for a contender, like Oklahoma City, New Orleans, or Miami. All these teams could use him coming off the bench for a guy who can stretch the floor, create some offense, and provide depth.
20. Al-Farouq Aminu: Yes
Aminu deserves a raise this offseason. Aminu is a very underrated wing in this league, that is still young enough to fulfill his potential. Aminu does not have great consistency from three point range, but still offers this ability. His jump shot is not very consistent either, but he can get hot easily. His defensive skill is where Aminu is what makes him worth a raise. He is a great perimeter defender. Aminu should look to double his current salary this offseason. I expect the Mavericks to try and bring him back at all cost, as he is a great role player for them.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17