Few players improved their stock more this season than Jason Thompson.
Entering the season, Thompson figured to be locked into a position battle against newly acquired J.J. Hickson with the winner having a leg-up on a new contract. And if you polled Kings fans, most likely would have picked Hickson as the player to emerge and earn the cash.
But it was Thompson who ran away with the job. Bryan outlined Thompson’s stellar play in his report card, and that, combined with Hickson’s complete flame out, has set Thompson up for a nice payday this offseason. Few 6-foot-11 players provide the skill set that JT brings to the table.
Clearly, he is not an elite power forward, and you cannot even guarantee he’d be the starter next year if a significant upgrade were to present itself. But that won’t stop Thompson from cashing in. Looking around the league in recent years, plenty of second-tier and even reserve big men have inked lucrative long-term contracts. Here are a few that compare…
Glen Davis, Orlando – 4 years, $26 million – Signed in 2011
Brandon Bass, Orlando – 4 years, $18 million – Signed in 2009
Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta – 4 years, $19 million – Signed in 2009
Chris Andersen, Denver – 5 years, $26 million – Signed in 2009
Udonis Haslem, Miami – 5 years, $20 million – Signed in 2010
Channing Frye, Phoenix – 5 years, $25 million – Signed in 2010
Matt Bonner, San Antonio – 4 years, $16 million – Signed in 2010
Amir Johnson, Toronto – 5 years, $34 million – Signed in 2010
Hell, just look at the Kings last year…
Chuck Hayes, Sacramento – 4 years, $22.4 million – Signed in 2011
These are all players that Thompson can easily say he compares to in terms of production.
So what can we expect to pay? A rough prediction is a four-year deal with a fifth year option, paying out about $6 million per season. 4 years, $24 million. With Thompson being a restricted free agent, the Kings have the right to match any offer. But that also puts them in a tough spot if one team covets JT and is willing to fork over $8 mill a season.
Hard to see JT not returning, though.
(Thanks as always to Patricia’s Various Basketball Stuff for the contract info.)