Title: The Raptors declining option puts Malachi Richardson at a crossroads
Date: October 31, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I wrote about the Raptors’ decision to decline their option on Malachi Richardson’s deal for 2019-20.
The lens through which Malachi Richardson’s 2018-19 season will be evaluated now requires some adjusting.
Wednesday marks the deadline for NBA teams to exercise options on rookie scale contracts. First-round picks are signed to four-year deals that pay based on draft slot and are guaranteed for the first two seasons. Teams hold options on the third year, which they have to exercise by Oct. 31 of a player’s sophomore season, and the fourth year, which they have to exercise by Oct. 31 of a player’s third season.
In all but the most extreme cases, third-year options are picked up. It’s simply too early to cut bait on a first-round pick for most teams. Fourth-year options are still usually picked up, but with greater knowledge of who a player is to that point and with salaries taking a significant jump for the fourth year, teams will sometimes decide to cut bait early. There is risk in doing so.