Report: Pistons declining Henry Ellenson’s fourth-year option

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First-round picks signed within three years of being drafted all get the same contract structure. The salaries vary based on year drafted and pick number, but the deals are all for four years with two guaranteed years followed by two team options. The options must be decided by Oct. 31 nearly a full year before the relevant season.

Most players have both their options exercised. Rookie-scale contracts are relatively cheap, and the players are usually either already worth that salary or young enough for teams to believe they could get there.

That’s why we don’t write about most option exercises. The 76ers want to pay Ben Simmons $8,113,930 next season? Duh.

But it’s noteworthy when someone has a rookie-scale option declined – like Pistons forward Henry Ellenson, who was up for $2,856,804 next season.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Ellenson was drafted by the previous regime, and even Stan Van Gundy – who ran Detroit’s front office then – said he didn’t scout Ellenson heavily because the big man wasn’t expected to drop to No. 18. But Van Gundy saw Ellenson as too talented to pass up.

Despite his skills for his size – ball-handling, passing, shooting – Ellenson has only rarely cracked the Pistons’ rotation in three years. He’s a woeful rim protector, and he’s too slow to defend on the perimeter. The game appears to be coming too fast for him to use his ball skills positively.

Ellenson is just 21, so there’s time for him to figure things out. But the Pistons are close enough to a luxury tax they certainly won’t pay next season, this move makes sense.

The rookie-scale-option deadline looms tomorrow, and though no other players have been reported to have their options declined, a few teams have announced the exercise of other options while conspicuously omitting certain players:

Maybe those teams just want to use the extra time to evaluate those players, or maybe those players are getting their options declined. We’ll know the final tally soon enough.