To the surprise of absolutely no one, Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Jason Richardson opted into the final year of his contract on Thursday, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. He will receive a cool $6.6 million for the 2014-15 season, likely making him one of the most overpaid players in the league.
That won’t necessarily be Richardson’s fault, of course, as the 33-year-old has battled persistent injuries over the past few years. He hasn’t played since Jan. 18, 2013, and continues to deal with the troublesome left knee that’s primarily caused his absence. Even now, it’s unclear what the Sixers can reasonably expect from Richardson going forward.
All of that makes exercising the option a no-brainer for Richardson. With the future of his basketball career uncertain amidst ongoing injuries, turning down a substantial guaranteed salary would be a major risk, even if it’s with one of the worst teams in the NBA.
This would seem to be disappointing news for Philadelphia, but the team likely planned to have Richardson’s salary on the books anyways during another rebuilding season. The 76ers continue working towards the future, and in all likelihood, will simply view eating Richardson’s salary as part of that process. A trade likely wasn’t possible, after all.
So the Sixers and Richardson are back together for more one year, which may or may not include the longtime guard actually playing. It’s just the final cost of that unfortunate Dwight Howard trade back in 2012, which saw Philadelphia trade Andre Iguodala in exchange for Andrew Bynum (who never played in Philly) and Richardson (who has hardly played in Philly).
In 33 games during the 2012-13 season, Richardson averaged 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.