The Blazers have exercised their rookie scale team options for 2015/16 with Meyers Leonard and CJ McCollum, the team announced. Leonard will make nearly $3.076MM for that season while McCollum has more than $2.525MM coming to him, as our Rookie Scale Team Option Tracker shows.
Leonard has struggled to live up to having been the 11th pick in the 2012 draft, and his minutes per game were nearly cut in half last season from what he saw as a rookie. The 22-year-old has diversified his game over the offseason, displaying an outside jumper in camp this month as the Blazers experiment with converting the 7’1″ Leonard into a power forward. It’s somewhat surprising that Portland was willing to commit to him and not to former No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson, whose team option will reportedly go unexercised. The $1.6MM gap between Robinson’s option, the more expensive of the two, and Leonard’s appears to have made a difference.
McCollum entered his rookie season with lots of promise after Portland grabbed him 10th overall last year, but injury helped limit him to just 38 games, and he saw just 12.5 MPG in those appearances. The guard made it into just six of the team’s 11 playoff games last season for 4.0 MPG.
Portland already picked up Damian Lillard‘s rookie scale option for next season, but even with Lillard, Leonard and McCollum on the books, they only have about $23.1MM tied up for 2015/16. Still, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez are all set to hit free agency, so there’s reason for the Blazers to keep their ledger relatively clean.