It’s becoming all too common for star players to want out of the team that drafted them and head to bigger markets and/or form super teams with other big names.
- Former 1st overall selection LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami in the cap space bonanza summer that was 2010.
- Chris Bosh, taken three spots after James, also left for Miami from Toronto to form a super team with Dwyane Wade completing the three-headed monster.
- Former #9 pick in 2002 Amare Stoudemire left Phoenix for New York for the pricey sum of $20 million annually.
- Third in the 2003 draft, Carmelo Anthony, called the shots on his way to New York from Denver.
- #3 selection Deron Williams requested out of Utah and was sent to New Jersey.
- Taken one spot after Williams in 2004, Chris Paul let it be known that New Orleans was not his long-term home and a total shitstorm has ensued in the efforts to move him.
- The next domino, first overall selection in 2004 Dwight Howard, has reportedly asked out with his preferred destinations being the reigning champion Dallas Mavericks, Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers, and up and coming New Jersey Nets.
These players have all the leverage when they request a trade the year before their deal expires, forcing the hand of their teams to either keep them and lose them for nothing, or trade them to a short list of desired teams in order to get some return on the player.
My proposal would be an attempt to revamp free agency when the next CBA negotiations take place (likely in six years when either side is able to opt out). Following in the footsteps of the NFL, there would be a built-in mechanism to reward teams that have restricted free agents accept offers from rivals, leaving the teams that drafted them empty-handed should they be unable or choose not to match.
There would be four tiers of qualifying offers that teams could make on their restricted free agent.
- The team can offer their free agent 250% of their previous salary for one season. If another team is to offer restricted free agent that goes unmatched, the bidding team will give two first- and two second-round picks, to be redeemed at the home team’s discretion in a three year window.
- The 200% qualifying offer will result in the home team receiving one first- and one second-round pick from the bidding team, to be exercised within a three year window.
- A 150% qualifying offer will yield a second-round pick for the home team within three years.
An example would be our very own G Rodney Stuckey, selected 15th overall in 2007. If you follow the twitters, his (unverified) account has indicated that he’d like a fresh start and would head to Portland ASAP to fill the hole left by the retiring SG Brandon Roy. Now, the Pistons would like the opportunity to hold onto any player on their roster with positive trade value (not Jason Maxiell, not Charlie Villanueva, not Ben Gordon…) and would not like to see another drafted player achieve greater success outside of Detroit (see Arron Afflalo, Carlos Delfino, Mehmet Okur). Under my proposal, a tier 1 qualifying offer would guarantee Rodney Stuckey $6.91 million, tier 2 $5.53, and tier 3 $4.13.
Rodney Stuckey is likely worth more than the approximate $7 million that a tier 1 offer would afford him, considering SG Marcus Thornton just received $8 million over four years from the Sacramento Kings and Stuckey is almost certainly a superior player. The question is: is Rodney Stuckey worth $7 million+, two first rounders, and two second rounders?
If he is, then he will be happy to go to the team of his choice that wants him that badly. If he isn’t, then his market value has been determined and he should be grateful that the Pistons want to keep him despite his interest in leaving. If the Pistons decide to match, then Stuckey should be respect the vote of confidence that Detroit made in matching the contract offer that the bidding team provided.
I will have two other posts coming up shortly provided other mechanisms that will try to prevent the formation of superteams in big markets and/or reward teams that draft well and/or keep talent in small markets.