But after opting out of a deal that would have paid him just $1.985 million next season, the lightning-quick point guard has reportedly found a pretty lucrative arrangement with the Sacramento Kings instead. Per the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner, Collison agreed to a three-year, $16 million pact with the organization.
Another report from Basketball Insiders' Eric Pincus put the total closer to $15 million.
And according to USA Today's Sam Amick, Collison is in store for a promotion too:
A person with knowledge of Collison's situation not only confirmed the agreement but said the 26-year-old who was Chris Paul's backup with the Los Angeles Clippers last season is heading for Sacramento with the understanding that he will be the starter.
This was a no-brainer move for Collison.
"The Kings were the most aggressive team by far in the free agency, and I respected that on all levels," Collison told The Los Angeles Times, per Broderick Turner. "Of course, I was trying to make it work with the Clippers and tried to re-sign with them. But I didn’t think they really made me their first priority like the Kings did."
Now the Clippers need a replacement.
That replacement will likely have to play for some portion of their $5.305 million mid-level exception. The Clippers are well above the salary cap, so don't expect them to make a run at restricted free agents like old friend Eric Bledsoe or the Kings' Isaiah Thomas.
Other unrestricted free agents—like Mo Williams or Mario Chalmers—may be probably looking for bigger paydays.
With that caveat, here are the best-available—and realistic—options.