Month: December 2017

Eight 2018/19 Rookie Scale Options Not Exercised

October 31 represented the deadline for teams to exercise their rookie scale team options for the 2018/19 season, and the majority of those options were picked up, as expected.

Although making option decisions a year early can be challenging, rookie scale salaries are affordable enough that most of those decisions are no-brainers, assuming the player is part of his club’s rotation. Of the 2018/19 rookie scale options, the most expensive one was Karl-Anthony Towns‘ fourth-year option, which will count for $7,839,435 against the Timberwolves‘ cap. That’s less than the value of the mid-level exception, and most are much cheaper than that.

Still, not every rookie scale option is a great investment. For clubs looking to reduce future tax bills or create some additional cap flexibility going forward, it may make sense to turn down an option for a former first-round pick who has underwhelmed in his first couple NBA seasons.

This year, eight available rookie scale options weren’t exercised, with Jahlil Okafor and Mario Hezonja – a pair of top-five picks in 2015 – heading the group of players who will now become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Here’s the full list of those players whose options weren’t picked up:

For the full list of the players whose rookie scale options for 2018/19 were exercised, be sure to check out our tracker.

And-Ones: De Colo, Okafor, Shumpert, Wright

French guard Nando De Colo has enjoyed some of the best seasons of his playing career in recent years, including earning EuroLeague MVP honors for CSKA Moscow in 2016. However, while De Colo is happy to continue playing in Europe and is concentrating on that for the time being, he admits that he hasn’t closed the door on the possibility of an NBA return.

De Colo spent two seasons with the Spurs and Raptors from 2013 to 2015, but never got to play a significant role during his first stint in the NBA, as he tells Spanish media outlet Farhampton Magazine (link via TalkBasket.net).

“The truth is that going to San Antonio was a somewhat complicated decision because I knew I could continue in Europe,” De Colo said. “I had contacts with Barcelona, for example. On the other hand, I wanted to go to the NBA and see how it was. In the Spurs, I didn’t have the opportunities I expected. I think that is a part of life that you can’t control.”

At age 30, De Colo still has time to return to the NBA, but given his starring role for CSKA, it’d be no surprise if he decided to remain overseas to finish his career.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The Timberwolves don’t have any interest in Jahlil Okafor, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link). Okafor, who had his 2018/19 turned down by the Sixers, remains on the trade block and may even end up seeking a buyout.
  • Cavaliers swingman Iman Shumpert will be sidelined for at least the next five to seven days due to knee soreness, the team announced today in a press release. Shumpert, the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason, is averaging a career-low 18.2 minutes per contest early this season for Cleveland.
  • Longtime NBA forward Dorell Wright, who appeared in 549 regular season games over the course of 11 NBA seasons, has signed in Germany with Brose Bamberg, the team recently announced (via Twitter). Wright last played in the NBA for Portland during the 2014/15 season.
  • Former NBA forward Al Harrington has taken an unusual career path since his days as a player ended, having gotten into the medical marijuana business. David Aldridge of NBA.com has an interesting and in-depth look at Harrington, who wants to encourage the NBA to consider the benefits of medical marijuana.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 10/31/17

Here are the G League assignments and recalls for Halloween, from across the NBA:

Thunder To Decline Josh Huestis’ 2018/19 Option

The Thunder will not exercise their fourth-year option for 2018/19 on forward Josh Huestis, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. The move will put Huestis on track to reach unrestricted free agency in the summer of ’18.

The 29th overall pick in 2014, Huestis would already be in his fourth NBA season if he had signed his rookie contract the year he was drafted. Instead, he spent his first professional season in the G League before eventually inking his four-year rookie deal with Oklahoma City in 2015.

That move was meant to give Huestis a little experience before he had to adjust to the NBA, but he has still been slow to develop for OKC. He only appeared in seven total games in his first two seasons with the Thunder, having been frequently assigned to the team’s G League affiliate, where he could get regular playing time.

Huestis’ fourth-year option would have counted for $2,243,326 against the Thunder’s cap next season. That’s not a huge amount, but if the club hopes to retain Paul George and/or Carmelo Anthony, every dollar saved will come in handy.

Donald Sloan To Play In G League

Donald Sloan has signed a contract to play in the G League, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link). Sloan previously played in the G League during the 2012/13 season. However, no team currently owns his rights, which means he’ll enter the league’s player pool.

Sloan turned down several international offers to join the Wizards for training camp. He was hoping to not only make the team’s opening night roster but to also contribute as a member of their rotation.

I came [to Washington] to be a part of what they’re trying to do here. I came to be that guy off the bench to give them what they need. I came to be that guy with backup minutes,” Sloan said earlier this month.

The Wizards waived the point guard just days before their first contest of the season, opting to keep Carrick Felix on as the team’s 15th man. Felix hasn’t seen any minutes for this Wizards this season, though he was suspended one game for leaving the team’s bench during an on-court altercation last week.

Sloan has played for five NBA teams since arriving in the league back in 2011. He spent time with Pacers, Nets, Cavs, Pelicans, and Hawks, averaging 5.5 points per game while sporting a player efficiency rating of 11.9.

Clippers Decline Brice Johnson’s Third-Year Option

The Clippers have declined to pick up Brice Johnson‘s 2018/19 team option, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Johnson was set to make $1.5MM next season.

Los Angeles selected Johnson with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2016 draft, but the team hasn’t gotten much return on its investment. The North Carolina product has appeared in just five games for the Clippers since coming into the league.

Jahlil Okafor May Push For Buyout

The Sixers have decided not to pick up the 2018/19 option on Jahlil Okafor‘s contract, something that will render the big man an unrestricted free agent this summer. Yet, sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter links) that Okafor prefers to not have to wait to change teams and may push for a buyout agreement with Philly.

Stein hears that Okafor is convinced that the team has had several workable deals on the table, though the Sixers have declined to make a move.

Okafor’s 2018/19 option was set to pay him $6.3MM and any team that acquires him in a trade this season wouldn’t be able to offer him a starting salary that goes beyond that figure in negotiations this summer.

The Duke product has seemingly been on the trade block since his rookie season with the club and his perceived trade value has fallen every year since.

Okafor has only seen action in one game this season—a game Joel Embiid sat out—and he made four of seven shots on his way to 10 points. The organization seems confident that Embiid can be the team’s center for the foreseeable future, evidenced by the unique long-term five-year extension it doled out to him earlier this month. Richaun Holmes and Amir Johnson also present barriers to playing time in Philadelphia, as Johnson has seen action at the five this season and Holmes should as well once he returns from his wrist injury.

The decision to decline Okafor’s option wasn’t solely based on his fit on the court. The Sixers are reportedly angling to make a splash next offseason and they want to maintain flexibility in order to do so.

Entering the 2015 draft, Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns were widely considered the two best prospects in the draft class and his fall to Philadelphia at three was a shocking development for many. Okafor has played 104 games with the Sixers since being drafted and it’s possible we’ve seen the last of him in a Philly uniform.

Stay tuned to Hoops Rumors for the latest on the Sixers, Jahlil Okafor, and potential landing spots for the big man.

Magic Will Decline Mario Hezonja’s 2018/19 Team Option

Orlando will decline the 2018/19 team option on Mario Hezonja‘s contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com tweets. The swingman was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Earlier today, we learned that the Sixers would not be picking up Jahlil Okafor‘s 2018/19 option, which makes the 2015 draft the first since the 2009 class to have a pair of players in the top six see their final season’s options declined, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes on Twitter. Back in 2011, the Grizzlies decided against keeping Hasheem Thabeet, while the Wolves turned down Jonny Flynn‘s fourth-year option.

The Magic are reportedly exploring the trade market for Hezonja, having discussed a deal with multiple teams. The Kings were one of the clubs and a proposed arrangement would have seen Malachi Richardson and a second-round pick head to Orlando. However, a deal has yet to materialize.

Hezonja was set to make roughly $5.17MM next season. Instead, he’ll hit the free agent market this summer as an unrestricted free agent in search of a new deal.

Clippers To Pick Up Sam Dekker’s Fourth-Year Option

The Clippers will pick up Sam Dekker‘s team option for the 2018/19 season, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). As a result, the Wisconsin product will make slightly over $2.76MM next season

Dekker came to Los Angeles as part of the Chris Paul trade. He hasn’t been a major cog in the Clippers system this season, earning a total of 32 minutes over his five games played with the club. The combo forward has made 41.7% of his shots this season while sporting a player efficiency rating of 11.6.

Dekker has played a total of 89 games in his career, which includes four postseason contests with Houston last season. He was the No. 18 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Bucks Picking Up Maker’s Option, Declining Vaughn’s

The Bucks are exercising their third-year option on Thon Maker for 2018/19 in advance of today’s deadline, but will turn down their fourth-year option on Rashad Vaughn, reports Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

The decision on Maker was an easy one for the Bucks, who used the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft to nab the 7’1″ center. Maker, whose 2018/19 option will count against the cap for about $2.8MM, played a modest role for Milwaukee in his rookie season, but showed flashes of potential and is already playing more significant minutes this year, having started all six games at center for the club.

Vaughn, meanwhile, was one of several players I identified during the preseason as being at risk of having their rookie scale options declined. Although the value of Vaughn’s 2018/19 option is fairly modest, at $2.9MM, the 21-year-old guard has failed to have a real on-court impact through 114 games in Milwaukee.

Vaughn will become an unrestricted free agent in 2018, and while the Bucks will be eligible to re-sign him, they won’t be able to offer him more than what his option would have been worth.

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