Before the 2011-12 season, the Houston Rockets signed rookie Chandler Parsons to a four-year, $3.7-million contract, with the first two seasons guaranteed. It seemed like a fair deal at the time. Parsons, a second-round pick (No. 38), was given job security and nearly $2 million of guaranteed money. And Houston got a cheap prospect under team control for the next four seasons.
In hindsight, it was a landslide victory for Daryl Morey and the Rockets. Parsons exceeded expectations, recording 18 Win Shares the past three seasons. Per dollar, he was one of the most valuable players in the NBA. (And now, thanks to the Dallas Mavericks, he’s getting paid accordingly.)
Sixers rookie K.J. McDaniels, a 32nd pick in the 2014 draft, doesn’t want to be the next Chandler Parsons … or the next Jerami Grant, Elliot Williams, Christapher Johnson, Jarvis Varnado, Hollis Thompson, Casper Ware, Jakarr Sampson — all players that the Sixers locked into cheap, multi-year, non-guaranteed contracts.
That’s why instead of signing on for four years, like Grant, he inked a one-year, non-guaranteed deal that could make him a restricted free agent next summer. Per Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 6-foot-6 swingman from Clemson will make $507,000 this season, which is less than the aforementioned Sixers prospects. But if all goes according to McDaniels’ plans, he’ll be getting more the following years. Philadelphia would have to offer him $1.2 million just to keep him out of unrestricted free agency this summer.
Here’s an explanation from McDaniels’ agent, Mark Bartelstein, via Yahoo Sports:
The 76ers have a philosophy that they’re adhering to, and we totally respect that, but it doesn’t fit for K.J. and us,” Bartelstein said. “I just totally disagree with the idea of doing a four-year deal that includes a structure of two non-guaranteed years. We think K.J. is going to be a good player, and it came down to doing a one-year deal and letting the market determine his value.
There’s no hard feelings. The Sixers’ philosophy has worked for them. It just doesn’t work for us.
Keep in mind, most second-round picks don’t last in the NBA. So this is very much a gamble. If McDaniels plays well, and looks a 3-and-D specialist, he’ll get a big raise. If he doesn’t, he’ll risk having to fight for a roster spot next summer, with only a half-million dollars pocketed. Pressure is on, rookie.