It’s getting harder and harder for first-round picks not to fulfill the four years on their rookie-scale contracts.
Yet, some still fall below the low bar to have their options exercised.
As the salary cap rises and rookie-scale contracts remain tied to salary-cap projections made before the new national TV deals, first-round picks are occupying a lower percentage of the salary cap than ever. So, it’s usually worthwhile to keep first-rounders for all four years of their rookie-scale contracts, including the final two seasons, which are team options.
From the 2013 draft, only No. 18 pick Shane Larkin and No. 30 pick Nemanja Nedovic had their third-year options declined last year. No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and No. 19 pick Sergey Karasev had their fourth-year options declined earlier this fall.
On the final day before the deadline, No. 23 Solomon Hill might be the final first-round pick from the draft class to fall short of completing his rookie-scale contract.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Indiana Pacers have declined the fourth-year option on forward Solomon Hill, league sources told Yahoo Sports, making the 2013 first-round pick a free agent in July.
Hill’s option was for $2,306,019, a pretty low figure for someone the Pacers deemed worthy of starting 78 games last season – even if that was only because Paul George got hurt.
Hill showed a solid ability to attack the rim, though the total package left a lot to be desired. Already 24, Hill seemingly has less room for growth than most players in their third season.
I expected Hill to play more this season with George shifting to power forward, as the Pacers would need help filling their wing minutes. But Hill has fallen from the rotation.
He’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and this probably signals his exit from Indiana is imminent.