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.
The No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Otto Porter, suffered a right hip flexor injury, reports the Associated Press, and was limited in practice. Fortunately for Wizards fans, Nene Hilario and John Wall are healthy, but as Michael Lee of the Washington Post points out on Twitter, Trevor Booker was also limited in practice with a sore right knee.
Here's more on the Wizards and Hawks…
- As J. Michael of CSN Washington summarizes, the Wizards have been suffering from the injury bug as training camps open around the league. Emeka Okafor (herniated disk) and Chris Singleton (left foot/toe surgery) are already out and now Booker and Porter are limited.
- Wall added to Lee's piece that after watching footage from the 2012/13 season, he's confident of the team's success this coming year. "We know what we're capable of as a team," Wall told him. "We just got to play like we did last year, be a great defensive team, be a faster team, get out in the open court," said Wall.
- On the injury front, the Hawks scoring guard (Lou) Louis Williams has no timetable on a return from the ACL tear he suffered last season, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution [subscription only].
- Vivlamore adds that former Hawk Damien Wilkins is liable to make the team if Williams isn't able to go right away. After suffering the torn ACL in his right knee in January, the recovery period is 9-12 months and Williams has yet to participate in any scrimmaging with the team before training camp opens.
- Vivlamore goes on to include that a new coach, Mike Budenholzer, means there will be a new system in place for even the veteran Hawks to learn in this month's training camp.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes that Kemba Walker, after two years of losing in Charlotte, led a "jump-start" on the Bobcats' training camp.
The Wizards have a number of option decisions due before the end of the month, and not all of them will be easy, as J. Michael of CSNWashington.com writes. Jan Vesely is coming off a disappointing year, and Chris Singleton has been sidelined by foot surgery, but president Ernie Grunfeld says the team already has a pretty good idea of where its players stand.
"We have a good feel for where [Singleton] is and what he brings to the table and it is an important year for these guys," Grunfeld said. "That's a decision we'll make at the appropriate time which will probably be at the end of [October]."
Here's more from around the East:
- Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News breaks down a few of the issues the Pistons need to address during training camp, including Brandon Jennings' fit, Greg Monroe's contract situation, and coaxing positive contributions out of Rodney Stuckey.
- The Heat had been hoping to bring in Rodrigue Beaubois "for an audition," but a wrist injury prevented it, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. It's not clear whether Miami would have invited Beaubois to camp or just had him in for a workout, but either way, the possibility doesn't seem to be on the table at the moment.
- In his latest mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel discusses the importance of a title for the Heat's potential 2014 free agents, and examines the possibility of a Joel Anthony trade.
- New GM Masai Ujiri is taking a patient approach to retooling the Raptors' roster, and tells Eric Koreen of the National Post that he hopes to eventually wake a "sleeping giant" in Toronto.
- The Bulls may not be the favorites to come out of the East, but there's certainly no shortage of talent and depth on the roster as Chicago prepares to open camp, says Sam Smith of Bulls.com. Smith also fields readers' questions in a mailbag.
Chris Singleton will undergo foot surgery today and will be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks, the Wizards announced today in a press release. Not only does the injury, which occurred in a voluntary workout, put Singleton's status for opening night in jeopardy, but it could have an impact on his future in Washington.
The Wizards have until October 31st to decide whether or not to exercise Singleton's $2.49MM option for the 2014/15 season. Now that the club won't get to watch him in camp and in the preseason, the decision figures to be made primarily based on his NBA production to date, which has been underwhelming — he has averaged 4.4 PPG and an 8.1 PER in his first two seasons.
As we wish Singleton a speedy recovery, let's round up a few more items from around the Eastern Conference….
- Singleton's teammate, Emeka Okafor, also looks like he'll miss the start of the season. The Wizards announced today that Okafor, who is entering a contract year, will be out indefinitely as he rehabs from a herniated disc. Okafor tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he's not considering retirement and plans to return this season (Twitter link).
- While Tom Thibodeau has downplayed any sort of discord between him and the Bulls' front office, a source tells Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that the head coach would be upset if the team traded Luol Deng or let him walk in free agency. "Ask Tom how important he thinks Luol is," the source said. "How happy do you think he would be with that decision?"
- In his latest Heat mailbag, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel shares his thoughts on Dwyane Wade vs. Kyrie Irving, Joel Anthony's contract, and Steve Kerr's 2013/14 predictions.
- Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com explores the issue of how the Knicks will complete their roster, asking readers if the team should add a big man, a forward, or a guard.
- Begley adds (via Twitter) that former prep star Jonathan Hargett worked out at the Knicks facility, though it was in an informal capacity and the team isn't currently planning to sign him.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis didn't want to commit a five-year maximum-salary contract to James Harden, so the team turned down an offer of Harden for Bradley Beal and Chris Singleton, according to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. One Wizards official, who disputes that such a proposal was ever on the table, said the Thunder were also seeking an established player of the caliber the Wizards don't possess, Lee adds.
The Thunder reportedly had interest in trading up to take Beal right before the draft, but didn't want to part with Harden. Lee notes that the proposal including Harden was made two months after the draft, when the Wizards made Beal the third overall pick. An NBA executive pointed out to Lee that teams are much more reticent to give up recently drafted players than they are draft picks.
The revelation of this would-be deal surely isn't welcome news for Wizards fans, who've watched their team stumble to a 2-15 start. As Lee details, the Wizards would likely have become a taxpaying team if they had committed a max deal to Harden as the Rockets did after the Thunder traded him to Houston on the eve of the season. With stiffer tax penalties kicking in by 2014, it makes it easier to understand why Leonsis put the brakes on a Harden trade, but with John Wall's value seemingly declining each day he misses with a left patella injury, it's worth wondering if the team might have been better off committing to Harden and letting Wall walk as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014.
Beal is off to a slow start, shooting just 34.9% in his first 17 NBA games, and Singleton, the 18th pick in 2011, is averaging just 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game this year, so the Thunder appear to be much better off with the package they got from the Rockets that's centered around Kevin Martin. I'd have to think there's some legitimacy to the statement by the Wizards executive who said the Thunder were looking for something more in a deal with Washington. And the Rockets are assuredly glad they wound up with Harden, who's averaging 24.7 points, 5.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game this year, all career highs.
The Wizards completed a major chunk of bookkeeping today, exercising 2013/14 options for six players, according to a press release from the team. John Wall, Kevin Seraphin, Trevor Booker, and Jordan Crawford had their fourth-year options picked up, while Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton had their third-year options exercised.
"We have been able to bring in and develop this core group of talented, mature young players over the last several years, and we’re pleased to have them all signed through next season," said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld in a statement. "Combining them with the veterans we’ve added gives us a solid foundation that can be competitive now while allowing us to continue to build towards future success."
Wall will earn a salary of about $7.46MM in 2013/14, while the other five players range from about $1.62MM (Singleton) to $3.34MM (Vesely). Wall, Seraphin, Booker, and Crawford will now be eligible for restricted free agency in the summer of 2014, unless they're extended next summer. The Wizards will have an additional year of control (2014/15) for Vesely and Singleton.
Check out Hoops Rumors' option tracker to keep tabs on which rookie-scale players have had their 2013/14 options picked up so far this offseason.