Congrats (I’m sure he’s reading) to Jimmy Butler, a.k.a. Jimmy G. Buckets, the G stands for Got Voted into All-NBA Third team by the media today
second straight appearance on the league’s list of the top-15 players (correction: it’s not! I thought he made it last year...), and as such potentially invokes this new rule in the NBA Salary Cap surrounding ‘designated player’ extensions.
You can read up on it here. Essentially, now 2 players per team if meeting a certain criteria, and still on the team that drafted them, are eligible for massive 5-year contract extensions. If Butler makes All-NBA again next year, he’ll be eligible. If you’re in the preceding season, or two of the past 3 seasons, you’re eligible, so actually this recent voting doesn’t mean much for Butler.
But Butler’s inclusion forced out (though the voting wasn’t that close) the likes of Paul George and Gordon Hayward, which is news for Hayward’s free agency this summer and George’s in 2018.
This is a bit goofy, though I get Tom Ziller’s point that it’s more a problem with there being a maximum salary at all. To me it’s another case of the owners trying to protect themselves from their own stupidity, and a better way would be they should be able to designate any player they wanted, regardless of criteria. It’s a contract earned in future performance, not past performance like what the all-NBA team requires. For example, Jimmy Butler absolutely had a better season than Paul George and deserved the nod. But the Pacers should still be able to say they feel Paul George is deserving of whatever super-max deal the designated player gets, as he’s potentially a better bet over the next 6 (next year plus a 5 year extension) seasons.
Now, it’s still the case where the incumbent free agent team can offer more money and a 5th year to their on FAs whereas a poaching team could only offer 4. But the other wrinkle with this is the designated player extension can be locked in before that player hits free agency (i.e. George could get it now, and deal starts in 2018). There’s also the qualification of a player being traded nullifying their eligibility for this extension, and thus if you aren’t eligible with your own team anyway it could mean more demanded trades before free agency hits.
Anyway, that’s a problem for the Pacers. The Bulls have a whole year to do nothing and say the wrong things (can only imagine Reinsdorf’s reaction to the ‘crazy’ figures!) in preparation for Butler’s possible future payday. There’s also the impact on Hayward and his likelihood of joining Boston in free agency and them not pursuing Butler as a result.