The Hawks declined to exercise the fourth-year team option on former first-round pick John Jenkins. The shooting guard would have been due $2,228,025 for the 2015-16 season but now becomes an unrestricted free agent following the season.
The team exercised the third-year option on Dennis Schroder. The point guard will make $1,763,400 next season.
Unlike most NBA teams, the Hawks do not announce their decision on team options. The deadline for the decisions is today.
“I’m pretty upset about it but it’s part of the game,” Jenkins said. “I felt how I came back from injury, from August until now, I feel like I made leaps and bounds and shocked a lot of people in the way I came back. I feel like in the preseason, I might have earned my spot and had my option picked up. But it didn’t happen. I will continue to work hard, support the team and be positive.”
Jenkins, who was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Vanderbilt, has been slowed by injury during his Hawks career. He averaged 6.1 points in 14.8 minutes as a rookie in 74 games. However, last season was an injury plagued year for the shooting guard. He missed substantial time that summer and training camp with a back injury. The 23-year old appeared in only 13 games last season when the injury re-occurred and eventually required season-ending surgery in February.
Jenkins returned healthy this season and performed well in exhibition games. In five games, he averaged 9.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in 20.0 minutes. He was the team’s leading scorer twice.
However, he was held out of the final two exhibition games as coach Mike Budenholzer starting to use his regular rotation. Jenkins was inactive for the Hawks season-opening game against the Raptors on Wednesday. He will make $1,312,920 this season before hitting the open market next summer.
The Hawks could re-sign Jenkins as an unrestricted free agent but according to the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, he cannot sign with the team for more than the $2.2 million he would have received.
“You are upset about it but at the same time in could be a blessing in disguise,” Jenkins said. “You never know.”
Schroder had an inconsistent year as a rookie last season. The 17th overall selection averaged 3.7 points, 1.9 assists and 1.2 turnovers in 13.1 minutes in 49 games. He lost his position as backup point guard early last season and remains behind Shelvin Mack on the depth chart this season. Mack signed a three-year contract with the Hawks this offseason.
The 21-year-old Schroder played just four minutes in the Hawks loss to the Raptors and finished with one point.
“I’m really happy,” Schroder said. “It’s great for me.”
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