In advance of NBA free agency on July 1, two members of the Atlanta Hawks frontcourt have interesting decisions to make. Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala have until June 29 to decide on 2018-2019 player options but, as of Wednesday evening, Shams Charania of The Vertical reported that Dedmon has made his choice and league sources confirm.
Hawks center Dewayne Dedmon has exercised his $7.2M player option for next season, league sources tell Yahoo.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2018
Dedmon’s reported decision to opt in for the $7.2 million salary in 2018-2019 is at least a mild surprise. The 28-year-old center put together easily the best season of his career in his first campaign with the Hawks, averaging 10.0 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. In addition, he started 46 contests, which was enough to trigger incentives that paid him $6.9 million (up from a $6 million base salary) and raised the likely value of his deal to the $7.2 million figure for next year, even if only $6.3 million is guaranteed with $900,000 in incentives still to earn.
Beyond that, Dedmon’s maturation as a legitimate three-point threat has been interesting to monitor, as he connected on 35.5 percent of his long-range attempts last season. Prior to that, Dedmon had attempted only one three-pointer in his NBA career and that is a marketable skill for a player that can also protect the rim.
In the end, though, the pending free agent market does not appear to be kind to the NBA’s middle class and there is security in accepting $7.2 million for next season. If Dedmon can replicate his success of last season, he will be able to hit the market again at the age of 29 next summer and, in theory, more free agent dollars will be available.