October 31st represents the deadline by which fourth-year players must sign extensions with their current teams or become ticketed for free agency next summer. However, that's not the only deadline that many teams will face as Halloween approaches.
A player entering the third year of his rookie contract is under contract for the 2012/13 season, but not necessarily for the 2013/14 season — that year is a team option. Rather than getting to make that option decision next summer, teams must decide by October 31st whether to exercise the option or turn it down. A declined option means that the player will hit unrestricted free agency next summer, rather than restricted free agency in 2014.
For the most part, these fourth-year options will be exercised. The cost is generally small enough and the first-round pedigree is strong enough that most teams would prefer to keep their young players around for another year. But that's not always the case. Last year, Jonny Flynn, Jordan Hill, Terrence Williams, and Hasheem Thabeet were among the third-year guys to have their fourth-year options declined, making them free agents this offseason. Flynn and Williams are still looking for work.
Here's the complete list of players for whom a fourth-year option decision is due by October 31st, sorted by team. The salary for the 2013/14 option year is in parentheses:
- 76ers: Evan Turner ($6.68MM)
- Bucks: Ekpe Udoh ($4.47MM), Larry Sanders ($3.05MM)
- Celtics: Avery Bradley ($2.51MM)
- Clippers: Eric Bledsoe ($2.63MM)
- Grizzlies: Quincy Pondexter ($2.23MM)
- Hornets: Al-Farouq Aminu ($3.75MM), Xavier Henry ($3.2MM), Greivis Vasquez ($2.15MM)
- Jazz: Derrick Favors ($6.01MM), Gordon Hayward ($3.45MM)
- Kings: DeMarcus Cousins ($4.92MM)
- Magic: Christian Eyenga ($2.12MM)
- Mavericks: Dominique Jones ($2.3MM)
- Pacers: Paul George ($3.28MM)
- Pistons: Greg Monroe ($4.09MM)
- Raptors: Ed Davis ($3.15MM)
- Rockets: Patrick Patterson ($3.11MM)
- Suns: Wesley Johnson ($5.42MM)
- Thunder: Cole Aldrich ($3.25MM), Lazar Hayward ($2.12MM)
- Trail Blazers: Luke Babbitt ($2.9MM), Elliot Williams ($2.37MM)
- Wizards: John Wall ($7.46MM), Kevin Seraphin ($2.76MM), Trevor Booker ($2.35MM), Jordan Crawford ($2.16MM)