Thursday , Aug , 09 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Opt-Out Clauses: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, & Other NBA Stars Holding Teams Hostage?

Seriously, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Jermaine O’Neal, Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter, and Gilbert Arenas have all made headlines this summer. The common denominator in these stories: the opt-out clause. And Generation Next -LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade-all have opt-out options. Should NBA superstars have the right to opt-out of their contracts prior to fulfilling the term? …

If you opened the dictionary, looked-up the term NBA opt-out clause, you would probably find a picture of a superstar smiling. 

There would also probably be the following definitions:

  • A contractual provision which allows an NBA superstar to get out of his long-term, multi-million dollar contract prior to fulfilling the stated obligations.
  • A contractual provision which an NBA superstar uses to pressure his team into making personnel transactions.
  • A contractual provision which an NBA superstar uses to force his team into trading him.
  • A contractual provision which allows a multi-million dollar NBA superstar to make even more money.
  • Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak’s worst nightmare.
  • Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant’s way of saying: Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah.

Seriously,, , Jermaine O’Neal, Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter, and have all made headlines this summer. The common denominator in these stories: the opt-out clause.

Each of these stars has or had an opt-clause in their contract. Bryant, Garnett, and O’Neal,  have threatened to use the clause, while Carter and Billups actually used the clause to get more money and longer term contracts. Arenas mentioned using his opt-out next summer, but nothing is for sure with Agent Zero.

And Generation Next -, Carmelo Anthony, and -all have opt-out options built in to their contracts.

No doubt about it, the opt-out is the future of the NBA. But this has been slept-on and overlooked by hoop heads all summer. So straight-up: should NBA superstars have the right to opt-out of their contracts prior to fulfilling the term? Yes or no?

The Yes Side: 

  • The opt-out provision is an agreed upon clause between the player and club, so the player has the right to use it.
  • The opt-out clause helps superstars gain leverage over apathetic front offices. For example, Bryant in L.A. and Garnett in Minnesota.

The No Side:

  • Players should simply play. They signed a contract and should not have the right to opt-out of an agreement.
  • Players use this provision to pressure their teams into making personnel transactions. Superstars do not have the right to hold their teams and fans hostage.

What are your thoughts on opt-out clauses? Get at us in the comment box below with your opinions.

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