It’s been a bizarre summer for Patrick McCaw and his contract situation. The third-year wing entered the offseason without a contract, but was extended the qualifying offer by the Golden State Warriors.
As a refresher, the qualifying offer is a contract that gives a player a set amount for a one-year deal. That set amount is the higher number between 125% of the player’s prior salary, and $200,000 above the player’s eligible minimum contract (for McCaw it’s the latter, which is $1.7 million). Most importantly, the qualifying offer makes a player a restricted free agent, meaning their team has the right to match any contract offer.
But McCaw never signed the qualifying offer, and never received that compelling other offer from a team. And as a result, he went through the offseason unsigned, and now, a week into training camp and just 15 days away from the start of the season, McCaw remains unsigned.
This has gone on long enough that McCaw’s qualifying offer is about to expire. He has until the end of the day - 11:59 p.m. ET on October 1 - to sign the offer, or the deal is off the table.
Patrick McCaw has until 11:59 pm EDT tonight to accept his $1.7M qualifying offer (a one-year guaranteed contract offer that pays out $200K more than his full-season minimum salary). After that, it expires unless extended by the Warriors and he’d still be a restricted free agent.— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) October 1, 2018
If McCaw chooses to sign the qualifying offer, then he’ll return to the Warriors on a one-year, $1.7 million deal. If he elects to not sign the contract, a few different things can happen.
First, the Warriors have the right to extend the qualifying offer for a longer period, should the choose. Presuming they don’t exercise that option, they will no longer be obligated to pay McCaw $1.7 million should he return; instead, they can offer him the minimum of $1.5 million.
However, even though the qualifying offer is set to expire, McCaw will remain a restricted free agent. Any offer sheet he signs with another team can be matched by the Warriors, even after today.
There are a few different things for McCaw to consider here. The fact that he’s still unsigned as the calendar flips to October suggests that no team is trying to throw money at him; in all likelihood, the $1.7 million on the table is more than he would get in free agency if he lets the deadline pass. On the other hand, by accepting the qualifying offer, McCaw would remain a restricted free agent next summer, thus limiting his freedom and financial flexibility again.
McCaw is in a tough spot since he would be a RFA next season by signing the QO. One rule that I wish the NBA/NBPA address in the next CBA is that a player can only be tagged once with a Qualifying Offer even if they have 3 years or less of service.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) October 1, 2018
After the scary fall McCaw took last year, which looked like it would jeopardize his career, it makes sense that he’s trying to find the best financial option for the upcoming season. Hopefully, as Steph Curry said last week, he has good people in his corner who are giving him smart advice.