OKC Thunder Exercise Contract Options on James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, Cole Aldrich

Inside Hoops is reporting that the Thunder have continued to lock up next year's roster by exercising their contract options on James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, Byron Mullens, and Cole Aldrich

Thunder Exercise Options on Players | Inside Hoops

Harden, Ibaka, Maynor, and Mullens all had their 4th year options exercised, while Aldrich had his 3rd year option exercised. When a team exercises a player option, it means that they extend that players contract for one more season at a salary no less than the prior year's amount. 

UPDATE:

A few more details about each player after the jump.

Name Acquired Via 2012-13 Salary ($M)
Cole Aldrich 11th pick, 2010 draft $2.4
James Harden 3rd pick, 2009 draft $5.8
Serge Ibaka 24th pick, 2008 draft $2.3
Eric Maynor 20th pick, 2009 draft by Utah, traded to OKC $2.3
Byron Mullens 24th pick, 2009 draft $2.3

all data provided by HoopsHype.com

  • The option year being exercised is for the 2012-2013 season. All players' options were previously exercised for the upcoming season. 
  • Since all of these players were drafted in the 1st round, the first two years of their rookie contracts were guaranteed. Years three and four were both option years that the Thunder could exercise at its discretion.
  • Harden, Maynor, and Mullens were all drafted in 2009, so they are entering their 3rd year of play, and their 4th year is the last year under their rookie contracts. Subsequently, the team will be able to negotiate with each of them (likely in two years) for extended contracts. All of those contract extension negotiations will likely occur under a new collective bargaining agreement.
  • Ibaka was drafted in 2008, but the Thunder granted him the opportunity to sign a three year contract to begin his career in Spain. The Thunder had the option to buy out his three year contract at any point, which they did in 2009. Subsequently, the Thunder signed Ibaka to the standard rookie contract in 2009 of two guaranteed years plus options on years three and four.
  • Aldrich was a rookie this past season, so this year and the next are guaranteed. Year three would have been the first year where his career might have been uncertain, but the Thunder assured him that they are including him in their building plans by exercising the 3rd year option. 
  • Consider this - the list above comprises two starters* on the books for only $5.9 million next season and $8.1 million the year after that. In other words, 2/5 of a championship-caliber team is on the books for the next two seasons for under 10% of the team's total payroll. 
  • Currently, Nazr Mohammed is the only 2011 active roster player without a contract next season. He has expressed a strong desire to return to the team in the role he filled last season.
  • Two years out, all of this year's starters are under contract. The only players who do not have a guaranteed contract in 2012 are Mohammed, Nate Robinson, and Daequan Cook

*I'm assuming that James Harden will be the starting shooting guard next season.

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