Paul Coro of azcentral.com confirmed today that the Phoenix Suns and Marcin Gortat discussed an extension in the offseason, but agreed to wait until his current deal is completed before re-opening negotiations.
On the surface, this appears to be the start of irreconcilable differences where yet another Suns star gets walked out of town when his deal expires.
But this impasse with Marcin Gortat is a most logical, reasonable impasse given the parameters of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed a year ago. Under the terms of the new CBA, the Suns can only offer Gortat up to two new years for about $16.8 million (or, $8.4 million per year).
Veteran Extensions (per cbafaq.com)
Veteran extensions are limited to four seasons, including the seasons remaining on the current contract.
The salary in the first year of a veteran extension may be any amount up to 107.5% of the player's previous salary
Gortat still has this season ($7.258 million) and next season ($7.727) on contract.
With the new CBA only allowing four total years, including those remaining on the current contract, the Suns could only offer two "new" years.
In addition, the Suns can only offer up to a $463,262 raise per year (7.5%) over of $7.727 million, the last year of his current contract.
Each of these guys waited until their contract was up, then re-signed with their teams like any free agent that's limited only by their years of service. By that time, Gortat will qualify as an unrestricted free agent for up to $17 million per year if a team wants to offer it.
Big difference between $8.4 million and $17 million per year.
"We just said we're going to wait," Gortat said to Paul Coro. "I want to finish this contract, and we'll see where I go from there. It didn't even bother me or change anything in my attitude or performance."
And you can't blame the Suns for trying. They might as well, just in case Gortat really wanted the job security because he will be 31 years old by the time he's asking for more money than $8.4 million per year.
Oh well, it was worth a shot anyway.