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Report: Mike Muscala Exercised $5 Million Player Option Contract with Hawks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2018

Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala (31) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Atlanta won 110-97. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Veteran forward Mike Muscala will return to the Atlanta Hawks in 2018-19 after exercising his $5 million player option, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.

Muscala averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Hawks this past season. By triggering his player option, he's set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

ESPN's Bobby Marks offered some perspective on what Muscala's contract means for Atlanta financially:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

With Mike Muscala exercising his $5M player option, Atlanta projects to enter the offseason with $20M in room and 15 players (12 guaranteed) under contract. The Hawks could be a landing spot for teams looking to move contracts (with a draft pick) to clear cap space.

The Hawks are in rebuild mode, so Muscala exercising his option is arguably the best result for the team. The 26-year-old could be leveraged as a trade asset either this summer or in the middle of next season.

A 37.8 percent shooter from three-point range, Muscala can stretch the floor, which playoff teams in particular are always looking to add ahead of the trade deadline. He has also remained generally consistent in terms of his production. According to Basketball Reference, he's averaging 18.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per 100 possessions.

Muscala has never played more than 70 games in a season, though, which may eliminate the possibility of Atlanta trading him before the season starts. Potential suitors might want to see if he can stay healthy before making a move for him.

Still, the Hawks should have little trouble flipping him for a draft pick, especially if they're willing to absorb a bad contract. Even if all the oraganization receives is a second-rounder, a rebuilding team can never have too many opportunities to strike it rich in the draft.

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