The move comes as no surprise for a couple reasons. For one, Holmes’ play has certainly justified a minimum-salary investment. In a part-time role in Philadelphia’s frontcourt, Holmes averaged 6.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 48 games (15.5 MPG) last season, and he was even more productive the year before, with 9.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 57 contests (20.9 MPG).
Additionally, exercising Holmes’ option for next season reportedly won’t actually lock in his $1.6MM salary. According to contract information from Basketball Insiders, Holmes’ salary remains non-guaranteed until January 10, even with his option picked up. T.J. McConnell‘s team option is said to have the same structure.
While exercising Holmes’ option may not provide any guarantees for the coming season, I’d be very surprised if he’s cut before his January guarantee date. Assuming he plays out the full 2018/19 season on his current deal, the 24-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.