As we enter Day 3 of NBA Free Agency, several big names have already moved teams. The NBA offseason is usually filled with surprises as we see rosters change overnight, and numerous unexpected moves have sent ripples around the league. While stars use Free Agency as a chance to move to title-contending teams, several players choose to secure a larger paycheck rather than a shot at the NBA title.
5 Players who chose a bigger payday in NBA free agency over a potential NBA title
The lack of ticket sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a massive financial loss for the NBA. Therefore, this year's NBA Free Agency market is regarded as one of the most uncertain ones in recent memory. Several players have already jumped at the opportunity to sign larger contracts. Let's take a look at 5 players who chose a bigger payday than a chance at the NBA title.
#1 Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward's player option was one of the most talked-about topics this offseason. After being linked to several teams and postponing his player option deadline with the Boston Celtics, many expected him to move to a title-contending team. Some insiders also believed Hayward could stay with the Celtics and have another run at the title. However, Gordon Hayward unexpectedly chose to join the Charlotte Hornets and pair up with the newly drafted LaMelo Ball in NBA Free Agency.
The Charlotte Hornets have failed to make the playoffs for the last four years and are one of the few NBA teams to have never won an NBA title. The Hornets, who are owned by basketball legend Michael Jordan, have never won the Southeast Division either.
Hayward, who is one of the league's stellar forwards and is still in his prime, signed with the franchise for a $120 million deal in NBA Free Agency.
#2 Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo was a crucial part of the LA Lakers' run to their 17th NBA title last season. Often hailed as an 'on-court coach' for the team, he provided exceptional playmaking and microwave offense off the bench. Rondo even sat in with the coaching staff during meetings and is considered to be one of the smartest players in the league.
Even though Rondo was a bench player, LA Lakers' head coach Frank Vogel trusted him during crunch time and often ran plays through the veteran point guard when the game was on the line. Ahead of NBA Free Agency, it was rumored that the LA Lakers were interested in bringing Rondo back for next season.
After his brilliant performances in the 2020 NBA Finals, Rondo was targeted by many top teams, including the LA Clippers. However, rather than moving to a contender or staying with the LA Lakers, Rondo chose to sign with lottery side Atlanta Hawks in NBA Free Agency.
The Atlanta Hawks had a 20-47 record last year and have been struggling for years. Although Rondo will make $7.5 million a year in Atlanta as opposed to his current salary of $2.5 million, his decision to sign with the Hawks in NBA Free Agency was unexpected, as he could have been a critical piece for a title-contending team.