2025 Free Agency Review - Part 1 Team/Player Options

  • By Kris Burley, Day 1, 2025

Part 1 Team/Player Options


In order to evaluate FA options, I have calculated the league average Salary $ per Win Share for 2024, split by salary range.

$ p ws
< $10m $979,479
>= $10m < $20m $2,536,989
> $20m $3,070,808

For the purposes of Part 1, I've excluded 2022 Draft team options and will be covered in Part 2.

Team Options: The Good
All players that had favourable $ per WS variances were picked up by there teams, no surprises there. The top pickups were:

Ashton Kolder - Stars
Dedrick Clayton - Vultures
DeMarcus Jones - Huskies
Jackson Farrior - Predators
Sava Vulikic - Lumberjacks

Kolder is the key standout here. Is he the JBL's lowest paid starter @ $1,662,000? Drafted #56 in the 2021 draft, he is certainly a contender for one of the best second round picks in the last 5 years.

Team Options The Bad

Mohammed Shakur - Nashville Stars
2024 Salary - $12,000,000
Win Shares - 2.1
$ per WS - $5,714,286

WS Salary - $5,327,677
Variance - ($6,672,323)

Shakur earns the title of least desirable team option this season. Whilst his FG% slightly improved he remains a career poor shooter with and was only 0.314% from outside during the season on 3PA per game. So what's the story with Shakur? It appears to be the two following factors:

A whopping 62% of his plays are as a pick and roll ball handler, scoring only 0.87 per possession. His at rim 0.535% is underwhelming and likely driven by his short stature at 6"1 and potentially his lack of speed.

Defense is the other issue. A chubby man with a BMI of 27.7, Shakur scouts poorly in athletics and perimeter defense. He ranked 17th out of the 25 PG's with at least 60 starts and just does not have the physique to keep up with taller/faster defenders.

DeAndre Buie - Houston Lightning
2024 Salary - $1,000,000
Win Shares - (1.3)
$ per WS - ($769,230)

WS Salary - ($1,273,322)
Variance - ($2,273,322)

On the surface, Buie looks like a cheap option as a backup PG/SG, however his impact on the team has been to its detriment (or advantage?). He is a defensive sieve and it's hard to tell if this is due to the number of minutes he played at SG. Scouted as a passable defender, one has to wonder if you can afford Buie to play the 2 at 6"1. For players with 60 games under their belt, he is last in BPM and equal last in VORP (tied with Shakur).

At $1m it's not an expensive sign, but without some sort of strategy change (positional) Buie will likely drag down the team in 2025.

Ben Batts - Blizzards: Mr. Pink was passed in the 2023 draft, only to be signed by the Jacks for $2m. Another highly inefficient shooter, ranked 9th 60gms which is odd given his scouting as an excellent 3pt shooter.

Player Options

There were only 4 player options with valid stats to be considered in this analysis:

Roy Ellington - Barons: The only of the 4 players that is playing above his salary, picked up his option. Ellington had a breakout season with the Barons.
Jordan Carstensen - Warriors: Thankfully declined his option. The ageing SG had fatigue issues and couldn't be relied on to play out more than 30mpg.
Tyson Kuberka - Colonels: Whilst he still delivers for his team, he remains overpaid at $23.5m

Shandon James - Fireballs

James picked up his team option of $14m whilst still with the Cyclones and was promptly traded to the Fireballs for Ashley Winters and a future 2nd round pick. James never played a game with the Cyclones after being traded there from the Knights on day 121.

His performance with the Knights was abysmal, 25% usage and highly inefficient. Every single advanced stat metric is negative, the Knights were far better with him off the court. His eFG% was the worst since his 2016 season. He has had 4 injuries since MCL GII in 2022. It will be interesting to see if he can bounce back after his off year.