Al Jefferson: 'Being a Free Agent Isn't Fun'

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Al Jefferson: 'Being a Free Agent Isn't Fun'
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In the minds of many basketball observers, the free-agency period should be a highlight of any NBA player's career. After years of indentured servitude to the team that drafted him, free agency is a chance for an NBA player to get the same opportunity available to highly skilled workers in every other field: the right to choose an employer. 

But recently signed Charlotte Bobcats center Al Jefferson does not agree with that assessment, as he admitted before tonight's game against the Boston Celtics to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe.

Jefferson signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract with the Bobcats in the offseason; roughly 99 percent of the world's population would consider that a "fun" deal. Is this just another case of a spoiled professional athlete whining about his millions, or is Charlotte really that much of a downer?

Perhaps Jefferson was expecting more suitors and more money on the open market. The 6'10" center has a rare skill set: an elite post game and the ability to put up huge scoring numbers for a player of his size.

But Jefferson's post scoring talents would likely have been more appreciated in a bygone NBA era. In today's "spread 'em out" game, a low-post scorer just doesn't have the same kind of value. Today's NBA teams care first and foremost about defense from the center position, and Jefferson has a reputation as a poor defender.

Kent Smith/Getty Images

For what it's worth, Jefferson wasn't the only 2013 free agent to complain about his free-agency period.

Shooting guard Kevin Martin—who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason—expressed similar feelings just two weeks ago in an interview with Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman“Everybody says free agency is fun. It wasn't fun for me. That's a big decision to make for yourself and for your family... I thought it was going to be fun. It was stressful.”

It seems that NBA free agency is just like any other job hunt: fraught with pressure, indecision and worry. Still, an eight-figure salary seems like a happy ending to any situation.

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