ETO. Three simple letters that carry huge significance for some NBA players. ETO stands for "early-termination option," a mechanism that allows a player to opt out of his contract before it runs out. That option is used by a player when he expects his value on the free agent market will be greater than the value of the final year of his contract or if he wants the security of a long-term deal.
As we noted earlier today, a high-end stud like Andre Iguodala, who is due more than $16 million next season, may garner an extension worthy of exercising his ETO. Then there are average players like Washington Wizards Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza, who said this week that they have no intention of exercising their ETOs, according to the Washington Post's Michael Lee.
“I don’t know many people who are going to leave money on the table and I’m not one of the people to do that, so most likely,” said Ariza, who is slated to earn $7.7 million next season.
The same goes for Okafor, who is actually the highest paid player on the Wizards roster. He is scheduled to be paid a whopping $14.5 million for the 2013-14 campaign.
Clearly, neither of them are going to garner more than that as a free agent this offseason, so it's no surprise that they will run out their contracts. Of course, that means that next season will be critical to their next contracts, so they should be particularly focused for the 2013-14 run.