NBA Roundtable

2010 Expiring Contracts

In Trade Talk on January 18, 2010 at 6:00 am

Lots of talk about expiring contracts as we head into the final month of trading season before the trading deadline, so, I thought it would be useful to put together one list to use a resource for the next month.

This post will be available in the form of a link under the “salary stuff” heading above the post for those looking to check back to it at a later date.

Large Expiring Contracts

How many teams have expiring contracts worth over $7 million? Who are those teams and who are those players?

  • Jermaine O’Neal – $23.02 million – Miami Heat
  • Tracy McGrady – $22.48 million – Houston Rockets (insurance?)
  • Shaquille O’Neal – $21 million – Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Ray Allen – $18.78 million  – Boston Celtics
  • Larry Hughes – $13.66 million – New York Knicks
  • Carlos Boozer – $12.32 million – Utah Jazz
  • Brad Miller – $12.5 million – Chicago Bulls
  • Zydrunas Ilgauskas – $11.54 million – Cleveland Cavaliers (notes = click here)
  • Bobby Simmons – $11.24 million – New Jersey Nets
  • Manu Ginobili – $10.78 million – San Antonio Spurs
  • Al Harrington – $10.03 million – New York Knicks
  • Cuttino Mobley – $9.5 million – New York Knicks (insurance contract)
  • Marcus Camby – $9.15 million – Los Angeles Clippers
  • Kenny Thomas – $8.78 million – Sacramento Kings
  • Quentin Richardson – $8.7 million – Miami Heat
  • Mark Blount – $7.97 million – Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Etan Thomas – $7.91 million – Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Darko Milicic – $7.54 million – New York Knicks
  • Udonis Haslem – $7.1 million – Miami Heat

Note: Players like LeBron James or a Joe Johnson, elite star players, who have more trade value due to their talent than their contract situation are not included.


  • Four contracts over $18 million — Jermaine O’Neal, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal and Ray Allen.
  • No contracts in the $14-to-$18 million range
  • Seven contracts in the $10-to-$14 million range — Larry Hughes, Carlos Boozer, Brad Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Bobby Simmons, Manu Ginobili Al Harrington,
  • Eight contracts in the $7-to-$10 million range — Cuttino Mobley, Marcus Camby, Kenny Thomas, Mark Blount, Quentin Richardson, Etan Thomas, Darko Milicic and Udonis Haslem

Continuing … repeat offenders

  • The New York Knicks have four ($7.5-to-$13.7 million) expiring contracts in this range.
  • The Miami Heat have three large expiring contracts. A massive one ($23 million) in Jermaine O’Neal and two solid sized contracts in Quentin Richardson ($8.7 million) and Udonis Haslem ($7.1 million).
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers have two large expiring contracts in Shaq ($21 million) and with Big Z ($11.5 million).

Total Expiring Contracts

Note: These totals only include contracts over $1.75 million. So they can be increased by a couple of million here and there by including some low-to-minimum contract players.

  • Atlanta Hawks – none
  • Boston Celtics – $29.94 million – Ray Allen, Brian Scalabrine, Eddie House, Tony Allen and Marquis Daniels
  • Charlotte Bobcats – none – Raymond Felton but he has a no-trade option and is very likely to use it
  • Chicago Bulls -$20.84 million – Brad Miller, Jerome James and Jannero Pargo – they bought out Tim Thomas already
  • Cleveland Cavaliers – $32.54 million – Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas – Delonte West has a very small partially guaranteed portion of his contract and could be used effectively as an expiring which would increase the Cavs total to $36.8 million
  • Dallas Mavericks – $16.62 million – Eric Dampier (non-guaranteed) and Drew Gooden – the Mavs also have a team option on Josh Howard and a partially guaranteed contract to Najera which could increase their expiring contracts to $30.51 million.
  • Denver Nuggets – none
  • Detroit Pistons – $4 million – Kwame Brown
  • Golden State Warriors – $10.46 million – Raja Bell and Speedy Claxton
  • Houston Rockets – $31.26 million – Tracy McGrady, Brian Cook, Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry – does not include non-guaranteed deals of Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes which could lift the Rockets total to $36.75 million
  • Indiana Pacers – $2.8 million – Earl Watson
  • Los Angeles Clippers – $19.67 million – Marcus Camby, Rasual Butler, Ricky Davis, Craig Smith and Mardy Collins
  • Los Angeles Lakers – $12.26 million – Adam Morrison, Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar
  • Memphis Grizzlies – $3.7 million – Steven Hunter
  • Miami Heat – $41.71 million – also have a partially guaranteed contract in James Jones which could increase their total to $46 million.
  • Milwaukee Bucks – $15.88 million – Luke Ridnour, Kurt Thomas, Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander
  • Minnesota Timberwolves – $18.35 million – Mark Blount, Brian Cardinal and Damien Wilkins – does not include partially guaranteed contract of Ryan Gomes which could increase their total to $22.22 million. Wolves already bought out Antonio Daniels.
  • New Jersey Nets – $26.32 million – Bobby Simmons, Tony Battie, Trenton Hassell, Jarvis Hayes and Josh Boone – also have a small partially guaranteed in Keyon Dooling which could be effectively used as an expiring contract lifting the Nets total to $29.9 million. Already bought out Rafer Alston.
  • New Orleans Hornets – none
  • New York Knicks – $46.75 million – Larry Hughes, Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley, Darko Milicic and Chris Duhon – also have David Lee and Nate Robinson but they both have a trade veto.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder – $14.4 million – Etan Thomas and Matt Harpring – already waived Earl Watson.
  • Orlando Magic – $2.06 million – Anthony Johnson
  • Philadelphia 76ers – none
  • Phoenix Suns – none – already waived Ben Wallace
  • Portland Trailblazers – $7.6 million – Steve Blake and Travis Outlaw – already parted ways with Darius Miles.
  • Sacramento Kings – $8.78 million – Kenny Thomas – already waived Mikki Moore.
  • San Antonio Spurs – $20.27 million – Manu Ginobili, Roger Mason Jr, Matt Bonner and Michael Finley – a little under $10 million sans Ginobili.
  • Toronto Raptors – $7.73 million – Amir Johnson, Rasho Nesterovic and Antoine Wright
  • Utah Jazz – $17.5 million – Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver
  • Washington Wizards – $27.82 million – Mike Miller, Mike James, Brendan Haywood, Randy Foye and Fabricio Oberto


  • 10 teams have $5 million or less – Atlanta Hawks + Charlotte Bobcats + Denver Nuggets + Detroit Pistons + Indiana Pacers + Memphis Grizzlies + New Orleans Hornets + Orlando Magic + Philadelphia 76ers + Phoenix Suns
  • 3 teams have $5-to-$10 million – Portland Trailblazers + Sacramento Kings + Toronto Raptors
  • 3 teams have $10-to-$15 million – Golden State Warriors + Los Angeles Lakers + Oklahoma City Thunder
  • 4 teams have $15-to-$20 million – Los Angeles Clippers + Milwaukee Bucks + Minnesota Timberwolves + Utah Jazz
  • 2 teams have $20-to-$25 million – Chicago Bulls + San Antonio Spurs
  • 2 teams have $25-to-$30 million – New Jersey Nets + Washington Wizards
  • 6 teams have $30+ million – Boston Celtics + Cleveland Cavaliers + Dallas Mavericks + Houston Rockets + Miami Heat + New York Knicks

So that’s …

  • Ten teams have more than $20 million in expiring contracts
  • Seven teams have between $10 and $20 million in expiring contracts
  • Three teams have less than $10 million in expiring contracts
  • Ten teams effectively have no expiring contracts


Okay, here we go …

  • So about two thirds of the league can make an expiring contract based offer for a role player making somewhere around the MLE.
  • Nine of those teams with expiring contracts are planning on having cap space this summer – New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami and Sacramento, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Houston, LA Clippers – and most of those teams are planning on making a splash in free agency. Therefore, they’re unlikely to cash in on their expiring contracts because they’re only interested in adding top talent players because they feel they have a shot at that type of talent this summer if they just allow the contracts to expire.
    • Five of those teams have expiring contracts totaling over $20 million which halves the number of prospective teams with that type of flexibility. Our remaining list includes the Cavs, Celtics, Wizards, Mavs and Spurs.
      • We can also make further cuts from this list by eliminating the Wizards. Their unsuccessful season has led them to the beginnings of a rebuilding process, plus they face considerable LT issues down the road if they were to take back large/long contracts on top of Arenas/Butler/Jamison.
      • The Spurs are also highly unlikely to part with Manu Ginobili given his talent. However, another injury to Manu, or a great trade opportunity, could change that situation.
      • That leaves three teams actively shopping their large collection of expiring contracts ($20+ mil) — the Celtics, Cavs and Mavs — and the Cavs look somewhat reluctant to part with Shaq, and especially a Shaq + Big Z combo, so one could argue there is really only two teams in the NBA that have $20+ million in expiring contracts + are willing to give up their contracts + willing to take back lengthily contracts in return.
    • Two of the other four teams are highly unlikely to trade their expiring contracts – Kings and Wolves — unfortunately, this doesn’t make much of a dent in the lower levels of deals.
      • The other two teams, Clippers and Thunder, are unlikely to do but they will consider it.
      • Actually, it does remove two teams, plus a third team in the Utah Jazz could be removed due to their LT complications next season and interest in cap flexibility in the future, leaving only one remaining team in that $15-20 million range. That lone team is the Bucks who themselves are unlikely to take back any contracts until they get Redd and a few others off their books. However, you also have to add in the teams in the $20+ million park (Cavs, Celtics, Mavs) which leaves us with four teams capable of + willing to take back $15+ million in long contracts. One could argue to rule out the Bucks and just keep the three other teams.
  • Neither Golden State or the Lakers are likely to use their full collection of expiring contracts so they’ll effectively be in the $5-10 million category. So that leaves us with only one team (OKC) in that $10-15 million range … but again you have to add the teams in the $15+ million park, so four more squads (Celts, Cavs, Mavs, Bucks).
  • There is still a huge number of teams in that MLE type price range. Teams looking for valuable role players. Even after ruling out the teams with cap space this summer, you’re still left with roughly a third of the league who would be able to make such a deal.
    • Four teams that can take $15+ million — Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Mavs
    • One in the $10-to-$15 million range — Thunder
    • Three teams in the $5-to-$10 million range — Raptors, Lakers, Warriors, Blazers
    • A total of eight teams … hmm … actually, that’s a fairly low number. Much lower than the 20 we were at a few minutes ago before walking down this road.
      • One could argue to rule out the Bucks and Warriors due to their interest in rebuilding (sort of) — their interest in acquiring another highly paid role player will be fairly small — which takes us down to six teams.
      • That leaves us with three legitimate contenders (Lakers, Celtics, Cavs), one outside contender (Mavs), one playoff team with a bright future (Thunder) and one team that is looking increasingly likely to make the playoffs (Raptors).
      • The Raptors would have to sacrifice a significant part of their rotation (Amir Johnson, 7th man). As would the Mavericks (Drew Gooden, main backup big) and Cavs (Delonte West, main backup guard).
      • The Celtics (Scal + TA), Lakers (Adam Morrison) and Thunder (Etan Thomas) pieces are borderline to non-rotation reserve players. Easier to part with, thus easier to make a trade. Lower level of value required in return.
      • The Lakers may be unwilling to take on another lengthily contract, for a role player, given their huge luxury tax bill + likelihood of having such a huge bill for many years to come. This is hard to say though … given their owner’s willingness to spend. So we won’t rule them out for now.

Okay, my head hurts. Time to stop.

I hope some of these notes help others who are considering trade proposals of their own or suggestions/rumours made in the media.

  1. You missed two expiring contracts on the Nets: Chris Quinn, who makes $$1,050,387, and Chris Douglas-Roberts, who makes $736,420. Nets have a team option on CDR at $854,389 next season, which they will almost certainly exercise, but it is officially expiring. Dooling’s guarantee is $500,000. Also, recently acquired Kris Humphries has a player option on his $3.2 million contract next year.

  2. Hey Bobbo,

    This quote is from the start of the total expiring contracts section:

    Note: These totals (expiring contract totals) only include contracts over $1.75 million. So they can be increased by a couple of million here and there by including some low-to-minimum contract players.

    That covers contracts like CDR and Chris Quinn for the Nets … which pretty much every team has. So all teams are able to up their values by a million or a couple of million depending on their situation.

    Kris Humphries

    I would be very surprised, although maybe not now that he’s in New Jersey, if Kris Humphries opted out of his contract. Interesting …

    Previously, I didn’t like his chances of making more money in the open market but Humphries will be getting consistent minutes in New Jersey and be able to put up solid numbers in that court time. He’s far more likely to opt out now that he’s there. Although, still unlikely to opt out if traded to a better team where he’d see less court time, plus not enough time between now and February trading deadline to up his value enough to opt out in the summer.

    So a fair chance of opting out if he stays in NJ. Very little to almost no chance of him opting out if traded. I don’t think anyone would consider him an expiring contract as a result.

  3. I would suggest that in deals where a top-tier player is exchanged for an expiring contract, the team with the top-tier player also wants a combination of good young players, draft picks (or rights), cash and trade exceptions in addition to the expiring contract. CDR’s contract makes for an ideal piece.

    As for Humphries, in a year when most of the money will go to top tier players, he’ll have a hard time getting much more than $3.2 million. And of course, there won’t be as much money available either.

  4. Hey Bobbo,

    I would suggest that in deals where a top-tier player is exchanged for an expiring contract, the team with the top-tier player also wants a combination of good young players, draft picks (or rights), cash and trade exceptions in addition to the expiring contract.

    I agree, those sweeteners are the keys to enticing team’s to give up valuable assets. To get teams to give up their most talented players.

    Expiring contracts by themselves usually only net you mediocre-to-solid players with bad contracts.

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