One thing that this summer has taught me: the market dictates a player's value more than his play creates his own market worth.
This is why Gordon Hayward was offered and then signed a max deal with the Charlotte Hornets. Nobody believes he's a max player in terms of actual on-court value. Even G-Time knows this himself. The market creates this by simple supply and demand theory. Basically a player's market value is determined by how many similar players are in the pool, who is looking to buy, and how much coin they have to play with.
Prime examples of this are Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons. Neither, as of now, is better than Andre Iguodala but both will be making more than him. We have been and will continue to be beaten over the head with this from now until the end of free agency, maybe even further.
This made me curious about how Gordon Hayward's market worth this summer would affect Enes Kanter's heading into free agency 2015. I believe the easiest and most honest answer is this: It won't. Again, that marketplace is a year away if Kanter opts to test those waters by not re-upping with the Jazz between now and the end of October.
Playing with the hypothetical that Kanter does dip his Turkish toes in the free agency pool of next summer, here's a look at that class. I've gathered the data on each available big man for next summer, power forward and center alike, and then put them into three different tiers.
Tier one and two are ranked in terms of how I see them. It's clearly subjective but it helps give us an understanding of where Kanter sits right now in the hypothetical market. Tier three is randomly put together because, well, how would you rank the Morris twins? Keep in mind that I've not included guys like Tim Duncan or Kevin Garnett because I don't think that they could actually affect his market.
R=Restricted Free Agent
- Roy Hibbert (PO)
- David West (PO)
- Paul Millsap
- Kenneth Faried (R)
- Tyson Chandler (PO)
- Enes Kanter (R)
- Omer Asik
- Robin Lopez
- Amir Johnson
- Anderson Varejao
- Kendrick Perkins
- Morris Twins* (R)
- Andrea Bargnani
- Draymond Green
Looking at how this summer has played out so far, we see that a bunch of valued guys are still available and without contract offers because of the stranglehold that LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have over their respective markets. This has left guys like Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza to wait...and wait...and wait. We can imagine that only Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge could do this next summer and probably won't.
But make no mistake: those are your max deal guys. If however, Love forces his way into a trade, we can imagine it would be with a spoken promise to re-sign with whoever goes after him, thus removing him from the market. And Aldridge has already publicly stated that he wants to remain with Portland for the rest of his career in order to be the greatest Blazer ever.
This could impact the market by making DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol the most sought-after big men, which would pave the way for them to get max deals. That could be good for the Jazz. And I would assume that with Brooke Lopez' health, he'd have to opt-in to his player option because it guarantees him nearly $17 million on a bum foot and on a team whose owner seems to enjoy going deep into the luxury tax.
Essentially, you have a bunch of players ahead of Enes Kanter who should and most likely will seek max money before we even get to the second tier of big men. However, I see no reason why Enes Kanter couldn't emerge as the best player or most sought after player from this group by the end of next year because of his age, upside, and playing for a new coach whose specialty is player development.
Overall Market Analysis
I'm not an expert and won't pretend that my analysis is spot on. But the way I've looked at the market Gordon Hayward entered, he's a tier-two guy that got tier-one money.
Why? Because the tier ahead of him only had 2 players ('Melo and LeBron) while a ton of teams had a ton of cap space. The other guys in his tier, guys like Ariza, Deng, Parsons (is he really in the same tier, I don't think so), they were also in a thin tier as well. Plus, Ariza and Deng have played their best basketball. You cannot say that about Hayward.
2015's market won't yield Enes Kanter a max deal or anything even close unless he all-out beasts next year. There is a sufficient number of guys ahead of him to get paid in the first and second tiers. The third tier has a number of serviceable players who won't be in line to get a ton of money either and teams will be able to get them at a discount.
The market's not flooded but it's far from dry. It'll be a much more balanced off-season, I believe, in terms of the way the money is distributed. I don't know if this means the Jazz will get Kanter at a cheap price. In fact, I doubt he'll be cheap. But he won't be getting anything close to what G-Time's market allowed him to get.
Stay tuned for Alec Burks.