So, John Lucas was given a two year deal, with a team option on the second year. I didn't know this until I read that the Raptors declined to pick up his team option or I'd have been complaining about it sooner, but let me take a second to explain why basically nobody in the league gives out team options anymore, and why it's just a stupid thing to do.
The rules with team options are as follows:
- The choice of whether to exercise the option or not must be made before June 30th in the year preceding.
- A player may not be traded between the end of the season and June 30th if he has the possibility of being a free agent that summer; thus, a player with an option year or an ETO (regardless of whether it's a player or team option) must have the option picked up before any trade can take place.
Unguaranteed contracts are much, much better for the team, and have no disadvantage for the player:
- The guarantee date can be set to whatever the parties can agree on. It can be June 30th, so it works just like a team option for the player, but much better for the team (see below). It can be sometime in the summer, to give the team a little time to look at free agency/trade options before having to make a decision, but still leaving the player time to sign with another team. It can even be during the following season, or come in stages.
- A player with an unguaranteed contract has no restrictions on being traded. If a team wants to clear cap space, they can trade a player with a $5 mil guaranteed contract for a player with a $5 mil unguaranteed contract and immediately waive the unguaranteed player. This makes players with unguaranteed contracts a very valuable trade asset.
So, in conclusion: there was absolutely no discernable reason to sign JL3 to a contract with a team option instead of just making the second year unguaranteed. It deprived the Raptors of a potentially valuable trade asset for absolutely no reason.