I expect to see a lot of 2-year opt outs in the NBA contracts that will be signed later this week. There are two reasons for that, which are related. This will hopefully be good for the Bucks (more on that later).
The first is that the TV contracts for the NBA expire at that point, and if NBA ratings continue to go up there will be a large increase in revenue to the league. With the new CBA, 50% of that revenue goes to the players (down from about 57% in the previous CBA), meaning there could be a sizable increase in the salary cap for that season. The other reason is Lebron, as pretty much everything in the NBA is about Lebron.
I expect Lebron to resign with the Heat for a large contract but with a likely 2-year opt out. Lebron can get money anywhere he wants to go, but he also wants to win championships. He has a clear path to the finals with the Big 3 in a weak Eastern Conference so Miami just makes sense in the short run. Lebron knows about the TV money too, but that is probably less a factor in his decision than Wade’s knees. Does Wade have another season or two of elite level play, even if it is for only 50 regular season games and the playoffs? Probably. Does Wade have 4-5 more seasons of elite level play? Probably not. The 2-year opt out combined with the salary cap increase gives Lebron a chance to opt out and move on if needed, as well as opening the number of options he has due to the salary cap increase.
The Bucks should be in a decent position to take advantage of this, should it happen. The Bucks have 4 players with significant contracts expiring in 2 years (Ilyasova, Mayo, Pachullia, and Henson’s rookie deal). I don’t expect the Bucks to be able to bring in any big free agents with all that open cap space. However. the Bucks may be able to take advantage of a team desperate to clear space for a shot at Lebron. With about 25 million in expiring contracts the Bucks will have flexibility to move them for a quality player(s) on long term deal.