A month ago, I took a look at which restricted free agents with expiring rookie deals have helped or hurt their market value. It’s time to do the same for the Western Conference, though I won’t rehash the bit on Wilson Chandler, who switched conferences last month in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Under current rules, teams can retain the right to match any competing offer for one of their restricted free agents only by offering them a one-year contract worth at least a certain amount — an amount that varies based on the player’s draft position. This is called the “qualifying offer.” Teams can make several different offers at once, but at least one of them must include a first year worth the qualifying offer amount.
Of course, we don’t know what the next set of rules will look like in the new collective bargaining agreement, though experts I’ve talked to basically agree it will include some form of restricted free agency. And qualifying offers are due to players just before the current CBA expires June 30, so teams that want to control the rights to those players will have to make them and then see what happens.
With that out of the way, here’s the list of the West’s notable restricted free agents:
(All stats are through March 11 and all salary figures are from Shamsports.com.)
THE HEADLINING BIG MEN
Marc Gasol is worth much more than the $4.4 million qualifying offer. (Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
• Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies (qualifying offer: $4,466,666)
Gasol’s status has hit a plateau this season, but that’s not an insult, since he was already so well-regarded after his breakout year in 2009-10, when he averaged nearly 15 points per game on 58 percent shooting.