Austin Rivers shouldn’t be limited by rule to lower salary with Clippers
Austin Rivers’ stock has never been higher.
He had some nice moments in the playoffs, and his dad is the boss.
In these conditions, Rivers and the the Clippers are negotiating a new contract.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Free agent Austin Rivers has engaged in strong discussions to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, sources tell RealGM. Negotiating terms.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 10, 2015
Rivers is an unrestricted free agent, because the Pelicans declined the fourth-year option on his rookie-scale contract.
New Orleans traded him to the Celtics, who flipped him to the Clippers. Rivers getting dealt is key to his earning potential – at least in terms of Collective Bargaining Agreement rules.
It has commonly been reported the Clippers can pay Rivers next season only up to what he would have made in the fourth season of his rookie-scale contract – $3,110,796.
I think that’s incorrect, at least based on a literal reading of the CBA. The relevant passage:
The CBA also defines Prior Team:
The Clippers are Rivers’ Prior Team. The Pelicans did not exercise the option.
This rule should apply only when the Prior Team (in this case, the Clippers) didn’t exercise the team option. Because the Pelicans were the team that didn’t exercise the option, I’d argue the rule doesn’t apply here.
Of course, I’ve ignored a hugely important question: Is Rivers worth more than $3,110,796 anyway?
Perhaps not. But a few points:
1. Rivers is just 22 and has improved every season he has been in the NBA.
2. The Clippers have his Bird Rights, so they can exceed the cap to sign him. It’s unlikely they could land a more valuable player on a minimum contract.
3. His dad is the freaking boss.
I don’t know what Rivers can draw, but he shouldn’t settle for $3,110,796 just because some people think the CBA mandates it.