But a year later, they’re declining his $2,174,880 rookie-scale team option for next season.
Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times:
The Clippers are not picking up their third-year option on center Mfiondu Kabengele. Today was the deadline to make a decision. Kabengele was the 27th pick in the 2019 draft. He could still be back with the team next year, but he'll obviously be evaluated as the year goes on.
— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) December 30, 2020
Kabengele was the only player still with his original team to have his rookie-scale option declined this year. Even the Warriors exercised their option on Jordan Poole, who was among the last calls to be announced. It’s just tough to admit error in drafting.
But Kabengele, already 23, just hasn’t shown enough. Center has the highest replacement level in the NBA, and he hasn’t cracked it.
Examples like this ought to dissuade teams from drafting centers in the first round. But based on this year’s draft, that lesson hasn’t yet landed.