With the limited FA pickings next summer, it would be nice if some of these RFAs this year -- in particular Luol Deng, who would be a great fit on this team -- would become unrestricted FAs next year. They can do this, at substantial personal risk, by signing a 1 year qualifying offer. For Deng, this amount comes in much less than the mid-level exception, which the Blazers can offer to anyone. How about taking the risk out of his taking the qualifying offer? Sign Deng to a 5 year mid-level exception with a player option after the first year. The Bulls can match it (and likely would), but he could simply opt-out (or not opt-in as is done for the option) and be a FA next year, when we will have the dough to give him what he's worth. As it stands, it looks like nobody is going to give this guy a serious payday this year. With the 5 year deal, he has his insurance policy against something happening in the year to ruin his chances. And with the player option after the first year, he can immediately opt out after next season, thus becoming an unrestricted FA, everybody wins. Are there any rules against putting in a player option after the first year? I don't think so -- although it may affect things like Bird rights or whatever (not sure).