Oklahoma City Thunder forward Patrick Patterson has exercised his $5.7 million player option for the 2019-20 season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. His return will push the franchise considerably deeper into luxury tax territory for next season.
Patterson averaged 3.6 points in just 13.7 minutes per game for the Thunder this year and saw his role decrease dramatically after the All-Star game. Patterson averaged 3.8 minutes per game in five contests after the mid-February break.
After signing a three-year pact with Oklahoma City in the summer of 2017, it became clear that Patterson wouldn’t be utilized the same as he was previously with Toronto. In two years with the Thunder, the three-point shooting power forward has averaged ten minutes less per game.
The $5.7 million Patterson will earn through his player option is likely more than he could yield on the open market after two underwhelming seasons. If he wants to carve his way back into Oklahoma City’s rotation, however, he’ll need to improve upon the .336 three-point mark he posted last season.
Even if Patterson does manage to channel some of the efficiency that made him a valuable depth piece for the Raptors from 2014 to 2017, he could find himself a candidate to be traded or stretched and waived.
Patterson’s decision to opt in gives the Thunder over $143 million in guaranteed salaries next season, with several roster spots to fill. Even with the forecasted salary cap bump, the franchise would be on pace to end the campaign well within the tax range.