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Paying Gerald Squared: The Options

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Apr 23, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets small forward Gerald Wallace (45) works the base line against Philadelphia 76ers small forward Andre Iguodala (9) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 23, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Nets small forward Gerald Wallace (45) works the base line against Philadelphia 76ers small forward Andre Iguodala (9) at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE

The Deron Williams question is basically binary. He will sign a maximum contract with the Nets for five years...or he won't. Brook Lopez is only a little more complicated as a restricted free agent. He can sign with the Nets or accept an offer sheet from another team and wait three days to see if the Nets will match. Kris Humphries? Unrestricted free agent.

But for the other two players Billy King as identified as part of the "core" going forward, it's a little more complicated. Gerald Wallace and Gerald Green are a bit different, Wallace because he has a player option for next year and Green because he's been out of the NBA for three years. Here's the lowdown on the Nets' options.

With Wallace, the Nets have two options:

--The Nets can sign Wallace at any time to a three-year extension, starting next year at $9.5 million and then give him 7 per cent raises in 2013-14 and 2014-15, for a total of $30.6 million. Under this option, as Stefan Bondy has tweeted, Wallace can be traded at any time once the deal is completed since it is an extension, not a new contract, under CBA.

Here's the specifics, the Nets would be allowed to add-on years would be 2013-14 and 2014-15. So contractually it would work out as a four-year deal, two years under his current deal (the first being the season just concluded) and two on an extension.

If he opts in, he would get get:

2011-12 $9.5 (old contract)
2012-13 $9.5 (old contract, opt in#)
2013-14 $10.21
2014-15 $10.92

--If he opts out, the Nets cannot sign him until July 12. The maximum amount of years would be five and they would retain his Bird Rights and not have to pay him under the salary cap.

It should be noted that neither of these options would be available to the Nets if they had not traded for him. If he had not be traded by the Blazers and became a free agent, the Nets would have had to sign him within the salary cap. This way, they have additional options. Before the trade deadline, the Nets had $12 million in cap space (including Brook Lopez’s hold). The Nets would have needed that $12 million to sign both a small forward and a power forward. Under the current situation, they have $8 million in cap space to sign a power forward.

Regarding Green, they have three options:

--Under the first option, the CBA permits the Nets to sign him using cap space, but to no more than a four-year deal.

--In the second option, they can sign him within the MLE, the size of which the Nets don’t yet know. MLE could be $5.8 million or $2.5 million. Again, the contract length can be no more than four years.

--In the third, and most unlikely option, Green would agree to a contract of the vets minimum plus 20% or less than $2 million. That option

Why no Bird Rights for Green? To qualify for Bird Rights, a player essentially must play for three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent. Green hadn't played in the NBA for three seasons prior to the Nets' signing him. Prior to that, he played for three teams in three years.