The Charlotte Hornets have opted to retain their 2024/25 rookie scale team option for center Mark Williams, confirming his future with the team, while they have chosen not to extend James Bouknight’s fourth-year option for the same season, signaling a divergence in paths for the two players, per the Charlotte Observer.
This decision regarding Mark Williams was quite expected, considering his impressive performance as Charlotte’s starting center in the latter part of his rookie season.
He has continued to fulfill this role in the 2023/24 season, maintaining averages of 11.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game over the first three games.
As for Mark Williams, his salary of $4,094,280 for the 2024/25 season is now set in stone.
Looking ahead, the Hornets will face another choice in a year regarding his $6,276,531 team option for the ’25/26 season.
In the realm of rookie scale team options, it’s relatively unusual to witness a declination, but the verdict to forego James Bouknight’s $6,064,496 salary for ’24/25 hardly comes as a shock.
Bouknight, aged 23 and the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft, has struggled to secure a consistent spot in Charlotte’s rotation during his two NBA seasons, with modest statistics of 5.1 points per game across 65 appearances, each lasting an average of 12.6 minutes.
Moreover, Bouknight has faced some legal complications since joining the Hornets, and he is currently in the process of recovering from a meniscus injury in his left knee, which deprived him of an opportunity to prove his worth in the preseason under Steve Clifford’s rotation.
The choice to decline Bouknight’s option implies that he will enter unrestricted free agency in 2024.
The Hornets or any other team having him on their roster by the season’s end will be unable to offer a starting salary exceeding the forfeited option sum of $6,064,496.
However, competing teams may have the flexibility to propose more lucrative terms. Unless Bouknight undergoes a substantial transformation from his prior performance, it’s doubtful that he’ll attract such superior offers.