When we look at the SIxers' salary situation next season, it's hard to find a way to wiggle them under the luxury tax with some kind of a trade. There is one thing that could change that equation, though. Willie Green's early-termination option.
Willie isn't the only one on the roster with a player option, but I'd say the odds of Jason Kapono turning down $6.6M for the upcoming season are none (slim has officially left the building). With Willie, though, you can make the case (and I really hope his agent makes the case to him in a very forceful manner).
If Willie decides not to use his ETO, he will be paid $3,976,000 for 2010-2011. Or a little over half of the mid-level exception. After next season, he's a free agent with no guaranteed money due to him, and the very real possibility of a hard cap and limited teams with actual cap space to sign him. If he was to exercise his ETO and become a free agent this summer, however, there would be numerous teams who could use cap space to sign him, not to mention the MLE and bi-annual exceptions available to every team over the cap.
From an agent's perspective, this summer could be the last chance for a decent payday for their clients for some time (and a decent commission for their agents as well). Willie is coming off probably his best season as a pro, I say he should strike while the iron is hot.
Here's a look at the math:
If Willie opts out, the lowest amount he could possibly sign for next season is $1,223,166, the veteran's minimum for a guy in his 8th season in the league. That means he'd be risking essentially $2.7M, assuming he's guaranteed a job in the league, at the minimum salary. When you look around the league, though, you have to figure someone would be dumb enough to offer him more than that, right? I mean, is it out of the question that someone would be willing to commit $7M for three seasons of Willie? Opposing announcers certainly seem to love the "instant offense" Willie could bring to a team off the bench.
I say the gravy train is about to be derailed, and this is your last, best chance to cash in, Willie. Exercise that option. Opt out of your contract. Opt out of Philadelphia where the ungrateful fans will never appreciate you. Just opt out.
By the way, if anyone knows Willie's agent personally, please pass this post along to him. Think about it, Mr. Agent. If you can find a team willing to sign Willie for 3 years/$7M that could mean an extra $300K for you, or more. If you wait for the new CBA, he could be a minimum salary player the rest of his career.
A second by the way, if you heard someone yelling at Willie to opt out as the final buzzer was about to sound last night, that was me.