The Boston Celtics have a difficult decision to make regarding Guerschon Yabusele’s team option for 2019-20 on Wednesday.
Wednesday is the deadline for teams to exercise their team options for next season, which means Boston will need to decide whether they want Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Yabusele back on their rookie contracts. Brown and Tatum will, of course, be obvious decisions — both will be back, and both almost certainly receive lucrative extensions when the time comes.
But Yabusele is a more complicated conversation. He would be relatively inexpensive next season at $3.1 million, although that number expands drastically given the luxury tax. At times, he has shown flashes of versatile big man Boston hoped it was getting with the 16th pick in the 2016 draft.
If Boston declined his option, it could still re-sign him during the offseason, but he would become an unrestricted free agent. If the Celtics exercise his option, they push back the decision another year.
While Yabusele is yet to work his way into the Celtics’ rotation Brad Stevens suggested earlier this month that the responsibility partly lies with him as the coach.
“I don’t know if it’s him,” Stevens said. “I think maybe it’s me. We’ve tried to make an emphasis this summer of using him more in the post. I don’t think I’ve done a very good job of that last year.”
In either case, Yabusele will spend the rest of the season with the Celtics and will need opportunities on the court.
“I’m trying to figure that out,” Stevens said earlier this month. “Obviously, yes, everybody gets their chance to impact, everybody has their chance to shine. There’s no question. NBA seasons give you those opportunities just by the sheer number of them. I think Guerschon’s ability to play at the 5 but also move his feet at the 4 may allow us to do some things against smaller lineups. And we might be giving up a little bit on the defensive end but his ability to post and rebound and do all those things, I think are pretty important.”