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If Seth Curry opts out, he will be a Restricted Free Agent

Kimani Okearah

With Seth Curry lighting it up as of late (15.7 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds on 51.9% from the field and 53.8% from three over his last 10 games), there's been a lot of focus on his contract situation.  As most of you already know, Seth Curry has a player option for next season for about $1 million, near the NBA's league minimum.  With how Curry has played lately, it seems likely that he'll choose not to accept that player option in the hopes of getting a bigger and longer term contract in a free agent market that will see a record amount of cap space spent.

This naturally has some Kings fans worried, as Curry could opt to sign a contract with another team.  However, the Kings have more control over Curry's situation than you'd think, as they can make him a Restricted Free Agent.  Here's the relevant part of Larry Coon's CBA FAQ (bolding is mine):

Restricted free agency exists only on a limited basis. It is allowed following the fourth year of rookie "scale" contracts for first round draft picks. It is also allowed for all veteran free agents who have been in the league three or fewer seasons.

Curry fits the second part of those parameters, having only been in the league for three seasons.  If he opts out, the Kings can make him a restricted free agent by giving him a qualifying offer, which they almost assuredly will, as the qualifying offer is basically the same amount as his player option.  From there, the Kings can work on a new contract with Curry, match another contract offer he signs, or he can simply accept the qualifying offer.

Of course, Curry can just opt to take his player option and then become an unrestricted free agent next year, perhaps banking on a bigger contract offer in the summer of 2017 if he gets a full season to showcase his abilities (and keeps performing) and he also won't have to worry about teams being gunshy at giving him an offer because the Kings could match it.

Either way, the Kings have a lot more leverage in keeping Curry for next season than you might have previously thought.  It will be interesting to see what Curry chooses to do with regards to his player option, but we won't find that out until sometime later this month.