Unlike player and team options on veteran contracts, which generally have to be exercised or declined by the end of June, rookie scale contracts include third- and fourth-year options that teams must decide on a year early. The deadline for those decisions is October 31, which means that clubs have one more week to pick up or turn down those rookie scale options for the 2019/20 season.
While several teams have already announced their rookie scale option decisions for 2019/20, there are 14 clubs that will need to decide one way or the other on those options within the next week.
Below, we’ve listed the outstanding rookie scale option decisions for 2019/20, sorting them by their likelihood of being exercised. The first list features options that are certain to be exercised, such as Ben Simmons‘ or Jayson Tatum‘s. The second list features the rest of the options, which may still be picked up, but aren’t necessarily locks.
Let’s dive in…
Locks to be exercised:
- Markelle Fultz, 76ers (third year, $9,745,200)
- Ben Simmons, 76ers (fourth year, $8,113,930)
- Dario Saric, 76ers (fourth year, $3,481,986)
- Kris Dunn, Bulls (fourth year, $5,348,007)
- Lauri Markkanen, Bulls (third year, $5,300,400)
- Denzel Valentine, Bulls (fourth year, $3,377,569)
- Ante Zizic, Cavaliers (third year, $2,281,800)
- Jayson Tatum, Celtics (third year, $7,830,000)
- Jaylen Brown, Celtics (fourth year, $6,534,829)
- Malik Monk, Hornets (third year, $4,028,400)
- De’Aaron Fox, Kings (third year, $6,392,760)
- Buddy Hield, Kings (fourth year, $4,861,208)
- Justin Jackson, Kings (third year, $3,280,920)
- Harry Giles, Kings (third year, $2,578,800)
- Jamal Murray, Nuggets (fourth year, $4,444,746)
- Juan Hernangomez, Nuggets (fourth year, $3,321,030)
- Luke Kennard, Pistons (third year, $3,827,160)
- Pascal Siakam, Raptors (fourth year, $2,351,839)
- OG Anunoby, Raptors (third year, $2,281,800)
Not necessarily locks to be exercised:
- Furkan Korkmaz, 76ers (third year, $2,033,160)
- Thon Maker, Bucks (fourth year, $3,569,643)
- D.J. Wilson, Bucks (third year, $2,961,120)
- Guerschon Yabusele, Celtics (third year, $3,117,240)
- Skal Labissiere, Kings (fourth year, $2,338,847)
- Malik Beasley, Nuggets (fourth year, $2,731,714)
- Tyler Lydon, Nuggets (third year, $2,190,720)
- Henry Ellenson, Pistons (fourth year, $2,856,804)
- Malachi Richardson, Raptors (fourth year, $2,581,597)
- Marquese Chriss, Rockets (fourth year, $4,078,236)
- Dragan Bender, Suns (fourth year, $5,896,519)
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Thunder (fourth year, $2,529,684)
- Terrance Ferguson, Thunder (third year, $2,475,840)
- Justin Patton, Timberwolves (third year, $3,117,240)
- Damian Jones, Warriors (fourth year, $2,305,057)
Because rookie scale salaries are typically so affordable, many of the options that we don’t view as locks to be picked up will still be exercised. For instance, even if Labissiere barely has a role in the Kings’ crowded frontcourt at the moment, Sacramento doesn’t have much guaranteed money on its books for 2019/20 and may view a $2,338,847 cap hit for the big man as a worthwhile investment.
Still, many of the players in that second list don’t currently have sizable rotation roles, so teams will have to decide whether it’s worth it to continue trying to develop those players in 2019/20, or if it makes more sense to simply replace them with minimum-salary veterans. That could be an especially tricky question for teams that project to be over the luxury tax line next season — in those cases, every saved dollar matters.
For a full list of the rookie scale options for 2019/20, including the ones that have already been picked up, check out our tracker.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.