Update: The Atlanta Hawks have announced the move below, making it official.
The Atlanta Hawks have several roster decisions to make in the coming days, but the team reportedly moved swiftly on such a choice for Mike Muscala. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Hawks picked up a 2016-2017 team option for Muscala on Wednesday, keeping him under team control for next season.
It should be noted that Muscala’s contract for the coming campaign remains non-guaranteed, and the Hawks could waive him prior to January in order to save some room under the cap and on the balance sheet. Still, this move appears to be something of a no-brainer for Atlanta, given that Muscala will make just north of $1 million next season after appearing in 60 games and playing more than 500 minutes in 2015-2016.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old big man is not a starting-caliber NBA player at this stage of his career, but Muscala does provide quality depth in the frontcourt while giving Atlanta some versatility with his shooting range and mobility. With this move, the Hawks retain a player at a bargain-basement salary, and Muscala could easily factor into the team’s rotation plans (even if on the periphery) for the 2016-2017 season.
There was an additional option for Atlanta in that the team could have declined Muscala’s option in favor of sending him to restricted free agency this summer, and with this choice, that will no longer be a path for the player during his Hawks tenure. Still, this is a less risky proposition, locking in Muscala for a very cheap salary and keeping Atlanta’s roster and salary cap flexibility in tact for when the free agency period begins at 12:01 am ET on July 1.