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Old 09-30-2013, 02:52 AM   #416
Xiao Yao You
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Default Re: The sure to be epic 2013 Jazz off-season!

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Peter: Since we are further apart on Favors, letís look at 2 additional comps. Joakim Noah and Al Horford. Both signed rookie extensions at 5 years, $60mm. Both of these guys, similar to Ibaka, had established starting roles in year 3, but Favorsí production in his limited minutes isnít so far off and if you look at per-36 numbers, it is mostly superior. While the Jazz may try to argue that Favors hasnít met the production levels of any of these guys, his agent can easily point at the team for holding Favorsí minutes down.

In a league where Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez received maximum contracts as RFAís, I have hard time seeing Favors having to settle for much lower than $12mm/year. Similarly, Gordon Hayward can look at Nic Batum (4 years, $46mm) and to some extent Eric Gordon (4 years, $58mm) as his potential upside if he plays to Jazz fansí lofty expectations. Dan, assume for a minute that Favors and Hayward pass on extensions, assuming they remain relatively healthy but only put up average production, what do you think their salary floors are as restricted free agents next year?

Dan: First off, I again think your comps are aggressive. Those guys were already core guys on mostly good teams by the end of year three. I think any extension that is based on that group is one made on the faith of what Favors could become as he takes on more minutes and consistently plays against starter-caliber competition. If the Jazz want to show that kind of faith, they can do so, but I donít think theyíre obligated to based on a comp list of guys who were already doing that at this point in their careers. The reality is that at this point, Favors is not a sure bet to be as good as any of those dudes.

Onto your floor question, Iím just not sure I grant the premise that there IS a floor, at least not once you remove all the conditions you placed on it (relatively healthy, average production). Bad health or subpar production are real risks for either player, so security is the real carrot at the end of the extension stick. You canít base their extension values on a bunch of hypotheticals that remove the risks inherent in playing 2013-14 without that long-term guarantee, because the whole reward for players signing an extension is foregoing that risk.

What you probably are trying to get at is their RFA value if we took Hayward/Favors now and took them in a time machine to 2014. The answer there, Iím afraid, is just as volatile because thereís really no precedent for the market conditions weíll have next summer. In a vacuum, Iíd say something like 4/32-38M for Hayward and maybe a bit more for Favors (who is less polished all around but gets a big man premium), but weíre not in a vacuum. 2014 free agency will be different from anything weíve experienced.

Peter: I 100% agree that those are aggressive comparisons for Favors. The Jazz certainly arenít obligated to pay Favors on those comps, which is ultimately why I think no deal happens this summer. If Iím Favors Iím comfortable that I can merit a similar contract based on the role I am inheriting in 2013-14.

Favors could easily average 15 and 10 on 43% shooting and still get a big contract offer from a big man needy team. In both cases either player could argue below average production was a result of being the 1st year thrust into their role and they are young enough to argue they still have upside.

As an RFA, DeAndre Jordan got 4 years, $43mm coming off a season averaging 7 PPG and 8 RPG. Favors already does that in fewer minutes. JaVale McGee got 4 & $44mm after averaging 11 and 7. Neither of those guys were considered the prospect that Favors is. I have a hard time seeing Favors getting less than $11mm/year next offseason, even if he only adds 4-5 MPG and puts up similar numbers. So is there strong enough motivation for Favors to sign for $11mm/year or less now?

I think we agree that $8mm/year is a reasonable RFA floor for Hayward. We saw way too many average wing players sign for something similar this offseason. Which begs the question, if $8mm/year is the floor, why sign a deal averaging $9.5mm/year now if he has potential to earn $12mm-$15mm year on a 5 year contract if he waits until after the season?

I am curious by what you mean that 2014 free agency will be different from anything weíve experienced?

Dan: I just think weíve never seen the confluence of market factors weíll have next year. Potential free agents include LeBron, Kobe, Melo, Tim, Dwyane, Dirk, Granger and Gay, and joining our guys in the potential RFA class are Paul George, Greg Monroe, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins. As much as half the league has the opportunity to create a near-max salary cap slot, but at the same time the repeater tax kicks in and revenue sharing will have fully kicked in, changing the way big & small market teams spend.

I donít have any idea how the market will shake out next year; nobody does. So an agent telling his client to pass on, say, 4/38M guaranteed could wind up looking awfully smartÖ or the bottom could fall out. Thatís why I think measuring guaranteed money now against a hypothetical floor in one of the most unprecedentedly weird markets is dangerous for the players; just as measuring against a hypothetical ceiling is usually bad practice for teams.

Letís say the agents show up with the script you just provided around per-minute numbers and favorable comps, and the Jazz show up expecting a discount for rolling the dice and giving the players the security now without seeing them as alpha dogs first. How likely is it that the parties canít bridge the gap at all and wind up waiting until next summer just as a result of a negotiating impasse?

Peter: I think there is a very small chance that a Favors deal gets done. As a big man there will almost always be money for him, thus unless the Jazz want to break the bank now (and I donít think they necessarily should), Iíd give it only a 10% chance that he signs. Hayward is probably closer to 30-40%. He has more room to get exposed if he isnít able to play as efficiently in his new #1 role.

Dan: I think youíre underestimating the motivation to forego restricted free agency based on how hard it is to get paid as RFA. Tiago Splitter Ė a pretty good comp for present-day Favors, actually Ė got 4/36M. Jeff Teague, a promising young point guard, got 4/32M. Nik Pekovic was one of the gameís most efficient centers last year and heís not even signed yet. And all three of those guys were ESPN top 16 free agents; in next yearís star-studded class, neither Favors nor Hayward figures to be ranked that high.

Letís not forget the ceiling, either. Itís hard for a 22-year-old kid to turn down, for example, $40 million guaranteed for the possibility of Ibaka money or the dream (because, frankly, itís a dream) of Hibbert money. In other words, I think thereís a middle ground here and Iíd put the odds a bit higher than 10-40% for either guy.

We'll know in a month. How they look in pre-season should give all parties a much better feel for what they want to settle at.
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