This is the second piece evaluating the 2015 free agency market. The first dissected, I'm sure with errors, homerism, and subjectivity, how the market would dictate Enes Kanter's post-rookie contract.
This piece will look at the market for Alec Burks.
(I suggest reading the Enes Kanter piece first as it contains the background information regarding Gordon Hayward's max deal in a thin market with multiple teams with cap space. You can find that here.)
Again, I've separated every wing player (SG and SF) and some primary ball handlers into three separate tiers. Tier one and tier two are listed in order of who I think is the best player from that group. Tier three is random.
*Keep in mind multiple things: I've not included guys like Ginobili because he most likely won't affect Alec's market due to his age. Also, this is so subjective that if you think Rudy Gay is better than J.R. Smith I probably wouldn't argue with you. This is more of me separating them into potential tiers that could affect Alec Burks' market value (again, not his actual value).
R=Restricted PO=Player Option ETO=Early Termination Option
- Rajon Rondo
- Kawhi Leonard (R)
- Goran Dragic (PO)
- Klay Thompson (R)
- Monta Ellis (PO)
- Ricky Rubio (R)
- Arron Afflalo (PO)
- J.R. Smith (PO)
- Rudy Gay
- Jeff Green (PO)
- Danny Green
- Wesley Matthews
- Gerald Green
- Jeremy Lin
- Reggie Jackson (R)
- Alec Burks (R)
- Jimmy Butler (R)
- Kemba Walker (R)
- Patrick Beverley (R)
- Chase Budinger (PO)
This is what one might call "market saturation". You're looking at 28 players for 30 NBA teams. However, this is much trickier than Enes Kanter's marketplace because of how many player options (6) and RFAs there are (10).
Nearly 25-percent of these players can simply opt into the final year of their deal. But most won't, which is great news for the Jazz if they want to keep Alec Burks at a cheaper price. Let's take a look at what these guys would be opting into:
- Goran Dragic-$7.5 million
- Monta Ellis-$9 million
- Arron Afflalo-$7.75 million
- J.R. Smith-$6.4 million
- Jeff Green-$9.2 million
- Chase Budinger-$5 million
Some of these guys are clearly in line for a bigger payday. The only guy I see potentially opting into his final year would be Jeff Green, unless he has a great year. But he would be opting into the same exact amount of money he is set to make this year. So he may exercise his ability to enter the market as well. Ultimately, this group of guys helps Utah out drastically when it comes to Alec Burks.
Restricted Free Agents
The next group of guys, the ones looking for the second NBA contract, are numerous, making up nearly 40-percent of next summer's market. And not a lot of teams are going to want to let these guys go. For example, Kawhi, Klay, Rubio, Reggie Jackson, Burks, Butler, Kemba, and Beverley will all be wanted by their own teams.
However, playing the hypothetical game, let's say all of these guys, including a potential 3-and-D guy like Iman Shumpert all fail to reach extensions with their teams between now and the end of October and enter the market next summer, this floods the market to Biblical Noah-like proportions, especially when you consider the amount of guys with POs at wing positions who will also opt to test the market. That drops their overall worth in the market.
The flip-side to that coin is that agents of guys like Jeff Green may tell their client to definitely take the $9.2 million for the 2015-16 season because there are so many wings on the market that he most likely wouldn't find a suitor to pay him more than that. Essentially, wait until summer 2016 when there would potentially be less guys in the market so he'd be a more sought-after commodity. The more guys that take the money and exercise their player option, the more market value Alec Burks receives because of how many guys it takes off the market.
The enimgas on this list are Rudy Gay and Jeremy Lin. It was a no-brainer for Gay to opt into his $19 million for this year. He definitely wasn't going to get anybody else to pay him that amount. So next year, he'll be one of the best wing players on the market taking a drastic pay cut. And the only thing insane about Jeremy Lin is that he'll be making $15 million next year only to enter a marketplace in 2015 that will require him to make about half that.
The other guys on this list would potentially be getting better deals. Take Danny Green for example. He is set to make $4 million next year. Something tells me that he'll be looking at $8-10 on his next deal even in a flooded market. Again, this is good for the Jazz when it comes to Burks. Wesley Matthews who is another 3-and-D guy may look to make more than his projected $7 million for this upcoming year. Gerald Green will definitely be getting a raise from $3.5 million if he continues to have another breakout year under Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix.
Overall Market Analysis
There is a big difference between Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. One has an elite skill. The other one is less polished. However, big men are the ones who get the big contracts, even if Burks is a slasher extraordinaire. But market matters more than value.
If Burks' agent and the Jazz cannot find an agreement before the 2014-15 season starts, the two biggest factors that I can tell will affect Burks' market value (again, not actual value; see Hayward, Gordon) are the amount of restricted guys that come to terms with their teams before the 2014-15 seasons starts; the second will be determined by the amount of guys that choose to opt out of their deals.
This detailed marketplace has the potential to be flooded with wing talent, which I believe will happen. Is Alec going to see a raise from $3.5 million? Yep. He deserves it already. But he's not going to be making $10 million a year in a market that has Danny Green, Wesley Matthews, Rudy Gay and a bunch of other now-proven players who have been playing on "let me prove myself" deals.
There simply won't be enough cash to go around, even with an increasing cap, for Alec Burks to get top dollar. Too many teams will be looking to retaining their own rookies, or snagging Rudy Gay at a discounted price, trying to lock up an improved and athletic freak in Gerald Green at around $6-8 million a year.
2015's marketplace is the opposite of the current free agency class. It's the reason Gordon got top dollar when he's not a top player. It's the reason his agent waited out. He knew the market ahead of time (cannot believe the Jazz didn't). But I believe this is all-around good news for the Jazz and that they'll get a deal done with Alec before 2014's tip-off.
Burks' agent may perceive the risk-reward of not coming to terms this year as an opportunity to lose money, that the Jazz, who have a ton of money, would be able to get him the most amount of dollar right now.
Since the Jazz have the money and the market may be flooded, Burks may be largely expendable. That may be enough incentive for his agent to get the deal done sooner rather than test the market.