The NBA’s decision to draft Ben Wallace, the first pick in the NBA draft, marked the beginning of the UFA age in the NBA. Prior to the Wallace selection, there were just three true UFA players in the NBA, including Allen Iverson, who played for the Houston Rockets. Wallace is the first player to enter this exclusive group since the retirement of Michael Jordan in 1999. Unlike the preceding league administrators, the current NBA has no restrictions on how many free agents a team can sign. Each team has the right to fill every available free spot, even those occupied by players already signed to contracts for the rest of the season.
An Unrestricted Veteran Player (ratorious) is free to sign a contract with virtually any team, but their previous team cannot receive compensation for signing the player to a contract. UFA may start to meet with and interview several teams as soon as the Entry Draft (which marks the start of free agency) has taken place. Once a contract is signed by a UFA, he is still under the provisions of the rookie scale contract, which dictates the maximum salary a player can receive and/or the financial benefits provided to the player, such as tickets to games, priority on the team bus, etc. The only compensation that a restricted free agent may receive from a team is promotional items or credit towards future purchases. A standard NBA contract typically does not include a provision allowing a player to accept an offer from another team.
A Two-Year Contract (two-year contract): Similar to the UFA option, a two-year contract allows a player to be signed for the entire season. Unlike the UFA option, however, a two-year contract does not restrict a player to one team. A two-year contract can be signed by any player currently signed to a contract. Two-year contracts generally start at a maximum value of three million dollars and increase yearly based upon the player’s points and standing as well as how long the contract is.
Signing Two-Year Deal: Similar to the two-year deal, a two-year deal allows a player to be signed for the full season. Unlike the UFA option, however, a two-year deal does not restrict a player to one team. Instead, if the player elects to sign a four-year contract, he is placed on the exempt list. After the fourth season, any player who elected to sign a four-year contract becomes a restricted free agent, which enables him to sign a four-year deal with any eligible team. Teams interested in signing restricted free agents must submit their qualifying offers to the league office before the free agent may sign an offer sheet.
Signing Four-Year Deal: Like the two-year deal, a four-year contract gives a player the right to sign an additional four seasons (effectively, twelve total) if he wishes. In addition, signing four-year deals allows a team to lock a particular player into a salary for the life of his contract; provided that the player has not been traded or otherwise designated as a minor-league free agent since the current contract began, no team may engage in a trade involving that player until the following season. Unlike the two-year deal, a four-year deal allows a player the option to sign an additional two years (effectively, twelve total) if he wishes. Like the two-year deal, no team may engage in a trade with a player in the final year of his contract if he has not signed an additional contract after the final year of his current contract.
Signing Seven-Year Deals: Similar to the two-year and three-year deals, a seven-year contract allows a player to sign a contract for the player’s entire career. Unlike the two-year and three-year deals, a seven-year contract does not have a trade restriction. A seven-year contract is the most common type of MLB contract. On Opening Day, a player with a seven-year contract is eligible for free agency, but is not given the option to negotiate a shorter deal should he wish to do so. A seven-year deal is the longest of any MLB contract.