As expected, Gerald Wallace opted out of the $9.5 million player option he had for next season Wednesday, allowing himself to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
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But despite the fact that the Nets aren’t guaranteed to have the veteran small forward’s services next season, in all likelihood his decision will work out well for them in the long run.
If the Nets had agreed to an extension with Wallace, his salary next season would have taken a significant chunk out of the team’s available cap space. But given the fact that Wallace is likely looking at the last big contract of his career, it’s definitely possible that Wallace could take less than that number over a longer-term deal in order to secure some financial security.
For example, the Nets and Wallace could agree to a three-year deal for $24 million, like the one Caron Butler signed with the Clippers last summer. That would give the Nets an additional $1.5 million dollars to sign other free agents with under the salary cap.
That extra cash could be the difference in allowing general manager Billy King to bring in a key free agent.