Report: Rockets to pick up Papanikoloau's $4.8 million option

BY foxsports • June 14, 2015

The Houston Rockets will reportedly pick up the $4.8 team option on forward Kostas Papanikoloau's contract. On the surface this move is curious, but is there more to it than meets the eye?

According to HoopsRumors the answer is yes, partly because Papanikoloau's deal is not guaranteed until October 4th:

"The Rockets would have Non-Bird rights to re-sign him if they declined the option and could make him a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of close to $6MM, but that qualifying offer would entail guaranteed salary. Even if the Rockets didn’t extend a qualifying offer, his cap hold would be more than $5.757MM unless they renounced his rights. In short, picking up the option would give the Rockets the most flexibility possible while still allowing them to have the final say on whether Papanikolaou plays for them next season."

Papanikoloau averaged 4.2 points per game in his rookie season, making only one start and shooting below 30 percent from behind the three-point line. Despite Houston's myriad injuries throughout the postseason, the 24-year-old never entered Kevin McHale's rotation, and was barely a factor after Terrence Jones returned from his serious leg issue.

A trade is more than possible, as has been expected since the first day the 6'8" forward signed with Houston.

Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images

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