The Celtics are expected to exercise the third-year options on point guard Marcus Smart and swingman James Young, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reports. Both options are for the 2016/17 season, with Smart set to earn $3,578,880 that year, while Young would be paid $1,825,200. Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, declined to comment on the team’s intentions in terms of picking up team options or the status of potential extensions for fourth-year players Tyler Zeller and Jared Sullinger, Blakely notes in the same piece. November 2nd is the deadline this year for teams to decide on rookie scale options and extensions.
It was almost assured that Boston would pick up its option on Smart, who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. During his rookie campaign in 2014/15, the 21-year old appeared in 67 contests, including 38 as a starter, averaging 7.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 27.0 minutes per night. His slash line was .367/.335/.646. He remains a big part of the Celtics’ future, though he is still learning the nuances of the point guard position.
Young’s situation is not so clear, with the 20-year-old struggling with his outside shooting since arriving in the NBA. Given the presence of 2015 first-rounder R.J. Hunter, his rotation spot is tenuous, though the young player certainly still has a high upside. “James is growing as a player and as a person,” Ainge told Blakely. “He has a better work ethic and he’s a better player.”
The Celtics executive did note that injuries and bad luck have played a part in holding Young back, the CSN scribe adds. “Last year, James’ development was stunted with no training camp, no summer league and hurt a couple times when he was just getting there and would have some kind of setback,” Ainge continued. “He had some really tough luck as a rookie.” In 31 appearances last season, Young averaged 3.4 PPG and 1.4 RPG in 10.7 minutes per contest.