On the surface it might seem like a mistake to pass up a $2.37-million check on the eve of the lockout. That’s not exactly what Shannon Brown did but by opting out of his contract he added unemployment concerns on top of labor issues. Despite the reality of the situation Brown made the best decision possible.
From a personal standpoint Shannon had to do what is best for him. The Lakers absolutely need Brown going forward. His athletic ability is unquestioned and his game has progressed nicely while in Los Angeles. The problem is that with a new coaching staff there are no guarantees.
Brown’s contract would have been an expiring deal with a minimal payout by NBA standards. These are the types of contracts that seemingly always get tossed in to complete trades. You know, like the trade that brought Shannon to the Lake Show in the first place.
So far each of Shannon’s off-seasons in L.A. has made him feel like Bill Murray on Groundhog Day. Shannon gets a two year deal with a player option; he plays out the first year, opts out then gets the same deal again. The only thing missing is Sonny and Cher playing on his alarm clock and Chris Elliott carrying a camera.
As much as I’d like to see Shannon comeback he’s got to hold his ground if he wants a long term contract. While the Lakers have a definite need to retain Shannon there are salary cap concerns that could hinder the negotiating process.
There’s just no way of knowing how the lockout will affect the NBA in the coming year. That is another reason why Brown is better off as a free agent. There is no way the Lakers are going to pay a luxury tax just to keep Brown in town. As much as he’s appreciated he’s just not worth the added cost in order to get a proper pay raise. This, again, is where his expiring deal becomes a hot commodity for Mitch Kupchak when exploring trades.
If Shannon wants to have some say so in where he’ll be employed then opting out is the only option. At first the move didn’t make much sense to me but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.
There is no telling what kind of a role Mike Brown had in store of Shannon. That alone is cause enough to seek offers elsewhere. If Coach Brown determines a necessity for Shannon on the roster then he’ll have to have that discussion with Kupchak which should entail a more secure deal. Despite my Laker loyalty I have no doubt Shannon did what was ultimately best.