The Rockets have exercised their team option for Kostas Papanikolaou, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The forward is set to earn $4,797,664 during the 2015/16 campaign, and though his deal is a non-guaranteed one, it would become fully guaranteed if he remains on Houston’s roster past October 4th.
On Sunday, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle noted that the team was on the fence regarding Papanikolaou’s option. Houston was reportedly considering rolling the dice and declining its option on the forward, and would then try and re-sign him as a free agent this summer. The Rockets already have $54,629,767 in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2015/16 season, and the addition of Papanikoloau’s salary would increase that amount to $59,427,431.
Papanikolaou was a regular part of the Rockets’ rotation during the first half of the 2014/15 season, but the acquisition of Josh Smith cut into the 24-year-old’s minutes the rest of the way. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game before Smith joined the team and 2.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG and just 12.1 MPG in 21 appearances afterward.