This summer will be crucial for some NBA teams, as some of the best players in the league like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson are expected to hit the market. There are several franchises with enough cap space that can offer one or two of these guys max contracts, but some of them can receive a supermax deal by staying with the team that they’re playing for this season.
For Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, teams that can offer the supermax may have the advantage this summer, because one of the priorities of the free agents is going to be the amount of money that they will be getting from their next contracts. He told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps that those who can offer supermax deals will have a great bargaining chip in free agency.
“I mean, when you’ve got guys that know their talent, know their skill set, and know what they’re capable of from a money standpoint, you can’t really entice somebody with a bag. You know what I mean?”
However, the Thunder star added that money isn’t always the case for the stars of the league. He’s a great example of that, as he requested a trade from the Indiana Pacers two years ago, bypassing his opportunity to get a supermax contract.
“Everybody has their own agenda, and their own motive, For me, I just wanted to play and have a chance to win a championship. I didn’t care about the money. For me, it was about where can I get a good opportunity to win, and I just felt that window was closing in Indiana, and I moved on.”
Some of the league’s best players have also rejected millions of dollars for several reasons. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh took significant pay cuts to form the Big Three in Miami. Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors in order to have a better chance at winning the title. Even recently retired future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki took lesser money to help their teams build a better roster.
This summer, money will not be an issue for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks, two franchises who will be willing to spend in order to turn their fortunes around. However, there are also reports that the top free agents are hesitant to sign with them because of how dysfunctional they have been over the past five years.
Players now prefer a winning culture and a healthy working environment over max or even supermax deals, and that’s something that teams should take into consideration this July.
The Thunder are hoping all goes well this offseason.