Clippers decline team option on 2019 No. 27 pick Mfiondu Kabengele

Clippers center Mfiondu Kabengele
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers liked Mfiondu Kabengele so much, they traded up to get him No. 27 in the 2019 NBA Draft.

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:

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.