The Celtics made a pair of interesting decisions on October 31, opting not to exercise James Young‘s fourth-year option for 2017/18, and letting Kelly Olynyk‘s extension deadline pass without a new deal. The moves will put Young on track for unrestricted free agency in 2017 and Olynyk on track for restricted free agency. As general manager Danny Ainge explains, per Adam Himmselbach of The Boston Globe, retaining future cap flexibility was a factor in the Olynyk decision.
“If we didn’t have max cap flexibility next summer and the possibility to land a superstar-type player, an All-Star-caliber player, it might have been different in our negotiations,” the Celtics GM said. “But because we still are there, with where we are in cap management, there was no reason to rush into it.”
As for Young, Ainge suggested that the Celtics really like where he is at the moment, but want to wait to see “how he progresses” this season. The GM also observed that the third-year veteran can take solace in the fact that it has been a “great blessing” for a handful of players to have that option declined. Solomon Hill is one recent example — he inked a four-year, $48MM contract this past summer with the Pelicans after the Pacers declined his fourth-year option a year ago.
Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:
- The Nets overhauled their point guard spot this offseason, and though Jeremy Lin has been solid as the team’s starter so far, the team’s second and third options at the position are off to slow starts. As Brian Lewis of The New York Post details, veteran Greivis Vasquez has struggled to produce and has been nagged by an ankle injury, while rookie Isaiah Whitehead doesn’t look ready for significant minutes quite yet.
- The other notable new point guard in New York, Derrick Rose, only has six assists in his first three games with the Knicks, but his scoring and shooting numbers are solid. Fred Kerber of The New York Post suggests Rose is poised to make a strong impression this season in New York, given the team’s recent point guard history — the team has gone through 21 players at the position since Rose entered the NBA in 2008.
- As Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News outlines, former head coach and current ESPN analyst Byron Scott questioned Phil Jackson‘s role in New York, where the Zen Master has been attending Knicks’ coaches meetings and giving input to players. “You hired [Jeff Hornacek] to be your coach, let him be your coach,” Scott said. “Kind of stay out a little bit. If you want to coach, fire him and take over like you did Derek Fisher. It’s really that simple. I think right now if I was Jeff, I would feel a little uncomfortable. I would feel some flames underneath my feet.”