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NBA Rumors: Pelicans Don’t Pick Up Rivers’ Option

Pelicans don’t pick up Austin Rivers’ option. Jimmy Butler confident he’ll get extended. Rockets look at free agent Kenyon Martin.

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Pelicans Don’t Pick Up Rivers’ Option

The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the fourth-year option on power forward Anthony Davis’ contract on Friday.

But they have decided not to extend point guard Austin Rivers’ option through the 2015-16 season, a league source confirmed.

The Pelicans had until Oct. 31 to exercise the options on both players’ contracts.

via John Reid of NOLA.com

Picking up Anthony Davis’ fourth-year option was an obvious move, but the New Orleans Pelicans had a much harder choice to make when it came to Austin Rivers. The No. 10 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft has been extremely disappointing since entering the league, and the Pelicans chose not to pick up his option.

This means that Rivers will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Had New Orleans picked up the option, they would’ve kept Rivers and paid him $3,110,796 next season. Instead, it seems that Rivers’ days in New Orleans are numbered.

The Pelicans considered moving on from Rivers over the summer when they were trying to clear the necessary salary cap space to trade for Omer Asik.

Rivers has averaged just seven points per game in his first two years in the NBA, playing very limited minutes. This year, he’s battling for minutes against Jimmer Fredette, who played well in the preseason after inking a one-year deal with the Pelicans this summer.

Rivers is still just 22 years old, so it’s possible that he could still develop into an NBA contributor. However, the Pelicans are essentially admitting that drafting Rivers was a mistake and moving on earlier than expected, which isn’t a good sign for the young player.

Butler Confident He’ll Get Extended

The Chicago Bulls want Jimmy Butler to remain with the team long-term, which is why they’re working so hard on coming to an agreement on a contract extension.

The good news for the Bulls is that Butler also wants to be there.

“This is definitely the city and the team that I want to be on,” Butler said before Chicago’s final preseason game on Friday. “At the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, I want to be a Chicago Bull for as long as possible.

“I think we’re going to figure it out. My focus right now is just to get healthy. If you get healthy, you’ll get paid. That’s how I’m looking at it.”

via Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders

The Chicago Bulls and Butler’s camp have until Oct. 31 to agree to a contract extension, otherwise the 25-year-old will become a restricted free agent next summer.

Butler has played very well for Chicago during the preseason, averaging 18.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals. He also had a 29-point outing (and the game-winning three-pointer) against the Atlanta Hawks. This suggests that Butler could be poised for a breakout year, which is why the Bulls might want to lock him up now instead of letting him hit free agency.

Right now, Butler is limited after sustaining a thumb injury on Oct. 19. He sat out the preseason finale, and is uncertain whether he’ll play in the team’s season opener on Wednesday.

Rockets Express Interest in Martin

NBA sources: The Rockets brought in free agent forward/center Kenyon Martin to see if he’s healthy. Martin was with the Knicks last season.

via Mark Berman of Fox 26

It seems that Kenyon Martin wants to continue his NBA career, as he recently met with the Houston Rockets. Martin is now 36 years old, and he has played 14 seasons in the NBA.

Martin spent last year with the New York Knicks, averaging 4.3 points and 4.2 rebounds. Like Chris Andersen in Miami, Martin carved out a role in New York by rebounding, defending and providing energy off of New York’s bench (and stepping into the starting lineup when needed).

It remains to be seen if the Rockets will sign Martin, but they’re clearly considering him if they met with him and checked if he was healthy. Houston recently trimmed their preseason roster, moving on from Josh Powell, Akil Mitchell and Robert Covington.

Houston currently has 15 players with guaranteed contracts as well as Tarik Black, a non-guaranteed player who has impressed during the preseason.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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