The Trail Blazers have exercised their rookie scale team options for the 2016/17 season with C.J. McCollum, Mason Plumlee and Noah Vonleh, the team announced (Twitter link). The moves keep all three under contract for that season at a combined cost of nearly $8.3MM.
McCollum, 24, is enthusiastic about the expanded role he’s poised to take on this season after playing mostly on the fringe of Portland’s rotation his first two NBA seasons. The former 10th overall pick showed plenty of potential during the playoffs, when he averaged 17.0 points in 33.2 minutes per game for the injury-riddled Blazers. He’ll be eligible for an extension next summer, since 2016/17 is the last on his rookie scale contract. The exercised option means the Blazers will pay him $3,219,579 for that 2016/17 season.
The 25-year-old Plumlee arrived via trade this summer from Brooklyn, where he went in an out of favor with the Nets, who reportedly resisted trading him in a deal that would have sent Deron Williams to the Kings last winter before burying him on the bench for the playoffs and ultimately dealing him to Portland. The 22nd overall pick in 2013 had a breakout performance for Team USA in the 2014 offseason, and he figures to have the opportunity to shine on a largely depleted Blazers roster. Like McCollum, he’ll be extension-eligible next summer in advance of the final year on his deal, one in which he’ll make $2,328,530.
Vonleh is another offseason trade acquisition for the Blazers, who brought the 20-year-old in after his quiet rookie season for the Hornets. He saw action in only 25 games last year, notching 10.4 minutes per night, after becoming the ninth overall pick in 2014. He’ll compete with Plumlee and others for playing time in the frontcourt. The Blazers, who are now in line to pay him $2,751,360 in 2016/17, will again have a decision to make on a rookie scale option for him next summer, and he won’t be eligible for an extension until 2017.
Today’s moves give Portland nearly $44.5MM against a projected $89MM cap for next summer. That’s only slightly less than the almost $47.9MM the team has in guaranteed salary for this season, so the Blazers continue to have a wealth of flexibility.
Which of McCollum, Plumlee and Vonleh do you see having the best career? Leave a comment to tell us.