With the players from the 2017 draft class signing rookie scale extensions this offseason, one interesting development has been option years given to Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell in the fifth-year of their max contracts.
"One of the things that has become really interesting as I have talked to league executives and agents in the last few days once the rush of Friday, Saturday has calmed down is what has been quite a push and pull for these young guys getting these contracts," said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. "The young guys getting big contracts. And the dreaded option year.
"And so, this is... I mean, you know, the reason the Bucks is sweating bullets about Giannis in 2020 is because when they signed him to his extension, they only gave him a four-year contract.
"And not a max," interjected Tim MacMahon.
"It was not a max, that's correct," said Windhorst.
"And one of the reasons why Anthony Davis was traded last year instead of being under contract this year is because he had an option in his contract. When he signed the five-year, I believe $145 million deal, it happened right after midnight that year. It was the first signing out of the box. 'He's tied to New Orleans through 2022 or '21...' Actually, he's not.
"This has been an interesting thing to watch what has happened in this particular signing cycle. The guys who got options and the guys who didn't. It's such an important thing because it effects when your star player can start to apply pressure to you. You get a five-year contract with no options. Maybe after Year 4 of the deal, he can apply pressure. You get a four-year deal, the player gets an option. After Year 3, the pressure happens."
While Tatum and Mitchell got player options, Bam Adebayo and De'Aaron Fox didn't negotiate a player option.
"I get such a different series of opinions. It's a real polarizing topic out there amongst fans, amongst executives, amongst agents of course."
Player options have historically been rare, but they have increased dramatically in their frequency over the past few years.
"I think the agents are winning on this one and it goes to player empowerment," said Windhorst.