JUNE 13: The Sixers have officially exercised McConnell’s team option, the club announced today in a press release. The announcement also confirmed that Richaun Holmes‘ option has been picked up, as we relayed earlier today.
MAY 11: The Sixers intend to pick up their 2018/19 team option on T.J. McConnell, team president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo told reporters today (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of The Athletic). That option is worth $1,600,520.
McConnell, 26, is coming off a third straight year as a rotation player for the Sixers. In 76 regular season games this season, he averaged 6.3 PPG, 4.0 APG, and 3.0 RPG with a shooting line of .499/.435/.795.
With Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz seemingly ready to handle point guard duties coming into the season, McConnell’s role was expected to be reduced. However, health problems limited Fultz to just 14 regular season games, opening the door for the veteran to be Simmons’ primary backup at the point. McConnell was particularly effective in the postseason, making 25 of 36 shots (.694 FG%) in 10 games against the Heat and Celtics.
While McConnell’s $1.6MM option is obviously a steal for the 76ers, there was a chance the club would decide to turn it down. Like Nikola Jokic in Denver, McConnell would have been a restricted free agent this summer if his option had been declined, but will now be on track for unrestricted free agency in 2019.
Unlike Jokic, McConnell isn’t a franchise-type player, so Philadelphia will opt for the bargain price in 2018/19 and then take its chances with the point guard in unrestricted free agency in 2019, rather than ensuring they can keep him long-term by giving him a raise this offseason.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), McConnell’s salary for 2018/19 remains non-guaranteed even after his option is exercised. However, that shouldn’t matter much, since Philadelphia won’t waive him.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.