Charlotte Hornets guard Gerald Henderson, Phoenix Suns forward Danny Granger, Memphis Grizzlies forward Jeff Green and New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Gordon all exercised their player options recently for the 2015-16 season to remain with their current clubs next season. All three players will become unrestricted free agents next season.
None of the four players are stars but each player has a chance to play important roles this upcoming season.
Henderson became the second Hornet player to re-up with the team this week — Al Jefferson exercised his player option on Sunday. Henderson will make $6 million next season, according to ESPN.
Henderson, who is the longest tenured player on the Hornets, decided to opt-in with the team a day after Charlotte dealt Lance Stephenson to the Los Angeles Clippers for Spencer Hawes and Matt Barnes.
The No. 12 pick in the 2009 draft averaged 12.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 80 games last year. He shot 43.7 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from the three-point line. Henderson scored in double-figures 51 times and reached the 20-point plateau 11 times. In addition, he produced two double-doubles.
Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report believes Henderson will play a prominent role with the Hornets this upcoming season, especially with Stephenson in Los Angeles.
Charlotte needs perimeter shooting help but that is the problem with Henderson’s game. He is not a reliable three-point shooter and his 45 triples last season marked a career-high. However, Henderson does possess an excellent mid-range game and has the ability to get to the rim, which help him boost his scoring average as he is a career 79.5 percent shooter from the charity stripe.
Henderson can come up with a few steals but overall is average on the defensive end. He finished with a 102 offensive rating and a 106 defensive rating.
Granger picked up his $2.1 million option with the Suns on Wednesday. The 32-year old former All-Star has been injury prone the last three years, playing in just 76 games during that span. He appeared in 30 games for the Miami Heat before heading to the Valley of the Sun as part of the three team deal that landed Goran Dragic in Miami. Granger averaged 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20 minutes of action last season.
Granger is unlikely to see much action this upcoming season with a young Suns team, according to Arizona Central, as the team sees him more as a locker room leader. However, Granger can still stroke the ball and could give the Suns instant offense off the bench.
As expected, Gordon picked up his $15.3 option for one more season in New Orleans. The 26-year old has battled injuries the last two years and missed 21 games a season ago. But The Times-Picayne reports that Gordan erased doubts about his toughness last season by “foregoing season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn left labrum in favor of rehabilitation.”
Gordon averaged a career-low 13.4 points a game but his 44.8 percent shooting percentage from beyond the arc was a career-best. He is a decent distributor — dishing out 6.0 assists a game a year ago — but he turns the ball over a lot and is awful on defense.
While New Orleans would have likely preferred that Gordon didn’t pick up the option — as it means the Pelicans have less to spend in free agency –, as long as he stays healthy he could help the team on the offensive end. Gordon, averages 16.8 points a game while shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc for his career.
Green is the most interesting of the four players as he really didn’t fit in with the Grizzlies as it was hoped after coming over from the Boston Celtics. Green will make $9.2 million next year.
Green averaged 13.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest in 45 games for the Grizzlies. The thing about Green’s game is that is predicated on athleticism and scoring. He is not a great shooter, except in spot up situations, and is a poor rebounder. Defense is also not a strength of his.
So, was Green’s decision to come back to Memphis a good decision? Basically, time will tell. If Green can improve his scoring and remain a solid spot-up shooter from long distance then yes the team will benefit from the decision. SB Nation reports that with Green remaining with the Grizzlies, it makes it easier for them to retain their other three free agents — Marc Gasol, Nick Calathes and Kostas Koufos.
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