New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart officially signed an extension on Thursday, as he inked a deal for three years and $38 million, ending his restricted free agency. The deal is a huge payday for the Villanova product, but it also contains some interesting specifications that show exactly why Hart was able to get big money:
Structure of Josh Hart’s three-year, $38 million deal to return to New Orleans, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA:
Year 1: $12M guaranteed
Year 2: $12.96M non-guaranteed (June 25 date)
Year 3: $12.96M player option, non guaranteed (June 25 date)
— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) August 19, 2021
Did you catch it? Yeah, I didn't either quite at first.
The first yer of Hart's deal is perfectly normal – he'll get paid $12 million for his services. However, in his second year, the Pelicans have the option to cut him without having to pay the full $12.96 million, thus giving them the flexibility to save money against their salary cap. In essence, New Orleans has a team option for the second year of Hart's contract.
In Year 3, Hart has the option to opt out of his contract and either leave the Pelicans or try to pursue a bigger contract from them instead. The Pels will have the same option as Year 2, where they'll be able to cut Hart if they don't deem his services necessary.
So, though the contract doesn't violate the commonality among all NBA contracts that is that they either include only a player option, only a team option, or neither of the two in writing, it essentially includes both a team and player option.
The deal is smart for both parties involved, as Josh Hart gets a great raise, but the Pelicans have the flexibility to get out of the deal almost whenever they want. Hart is betting on himself to perform and live up to the contract, and, additionally, is giving himself the flexibility to get out of the contract in Year 3 if he feels he deserves even more money.
Though a hard-nosed defender who can knock down the three-ball, Hart's biggest value to any team comes with his unwavering ferocity and dedication to the game. He is a team player through-and-through, and the Pelicans made a great move in signing him to this kind of contract.