Two of the option pickups were easy calls, but the third one might have been considered a bit of a question mark.
The Phoenix Suns picked up the 2016-17 options on all three of their eligible players today, a week before the deadline to do so or allow them to become free agents next summer.
Keeping Alex Len, 22 years old, around for $4.82 million for the 2016-17 season (he makes $3.8 million this season) is a no-brainer. The 7'1" Len is rounding into a major rotation player after starting about half the season last year, effectively his rookie (relatively) healthy season. Len put up about 6 points and 6 rebounds per game last season, and has shown growth this spring offensively to compliment his already strong defense and rebounding.
Exercising the third-year option on T.J. Warren, also 22, for $2.18 million next year (he makes $2.1 million this year) was also a no-brainer. Warren projects as one of the primary players coming off the bench this season next to Len, and may even be starting at small forward by the end of the season. For sure, Warren will be in Phoenix at least three more seasons if not many years beyond that.
Where there might have been a bit of hesitation is with the fourth-year deal for Archie Goodwin. Suns fans saw Wesley Johnson's fourth year option be declined just a couple years ago, and picked up Michael Beasley after he'd been made an early free agent as well.
Goodwin could easily have been sent down that road, but to Archie's benefit is the low, low cost of his option. Goodwin will only cost the Suns $2.1 million next year as a 22-year old. Basically, the cost of a rookie, and only about 2.5% of the projected salary cap next year.
Goodwin has not yet proven himself as a rotation player in the NBA - at least, with the Suns - and doesn't project to have a clear path to the rotation in the future now that he hasn't wrestled a regular job this training camp.
This fall was basically Goodwin's last good shot, needing only to beat out 29-year old journeyman Sonny Weems and the youngest player in the league for minutes behind Brandon Knight. But Goodwin has not progressed as quickly as many had hoped, and now both Weems and Devin Booker look more ready for regular minutes than Goodwin.
Archie is still just 21 years old though, and could still mature into the solid, and sometimes spectacular, NBA player many envisioned when he came out of Kentucky. He's an incredibly hard worker who just needs to find his niche and get a great deal better at his strength - driving to the hoop - while solidifying his more squishy skills of shooting, passing and defending at the NBA average level.
But again, 21 years old.
Of the three, Goodwin might be the one who spends more time in Bakersfield this season, though that is probably unlikely. Few NBA players see time in the D-League without their consent after their first two years, but it can certainly happen. Goodwin might need it just to keep his conditioning up. But he has dominated the D-League in his stints over the past two years, though, so the challenge may not be worth the effort.