A month ago, there were 57 players on rookie scale contracts eligible to have 2014/15 team options exercised ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Teams picked up all but seven of those options, once more affirming the bargain that the rookie scale provides to clubs. Five of the options were allowed to lapse, while two other eligible players were waived before the deadline. You can find our full, team-by-team breakdown of the option decisions via this link, but a few of the results are more surprising than others.
I examined the decisions teams faced on these options earlier this autumn, separating the likelihood that each option would be exercised into three categories: “no-brainers,” “probables” and “on the bubble.” All 15 of the “no-brainer” options were exercised, and only one of the 32 probables isn’t under contract for 2014/15: MarShon Brooks. The Celtics elected to decline their option on Brooks, and the team’s unfamiliarity with him after he came over from the Nets this summer was part of the reason, according to GM Danny Ainge.
There were 10 “bubble” cases, and only three of those options were picked up. Three of the options that were declined belonged to former lottery picks. The Wizards never formally announced that they’d turned down their fourth-year option on 2011 No. 6 overall pick Jan Vesely, nor did they announce their decision to decline Chris Singleton‘s option and pick up Bradley Beal‘s, but Michael Lee of The Washington Post confirms the moves. The Kings owned up to their mistake on Jimmer Fredette, declining the option of the former tenth overall pick. The Wizards also failed to exercise the option of another lottery selection, waiving 2012 13th pick Kendall Marshall shortly after acquiring him from the Suns in last week’s Marcin Gortat trade.
Royce White also hit free agency prematurely, as the Sixers released him a week before the option deadline. The Nuggets made no formal announcement about their decision to decline Jordan Hamilton‘s option, but he, too, will become a free agent at the end of the season. Jared Cunningham of the Hawks will also be a free agent in the summer, as his was the other option to be declined. Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves, Cory Joseph of the Spurs and Tony Wroten of the Sixers were the only “bubble” players to have their options exercised.