Charlotte Hornets big man Al Jefferson had been expected to opt in to the final year of his contract, and Jefferson’s agent made that news official to ESPN’s Marc Stein on Saturday night. Jefferson had until Monday to decide on his $13.5 million player option.
Jefferson signed a three-year, $41 million deal with Charlotte in 2013 and helped lead the team to a playoff berth in his first year there. The big man averaged 21.8 points and 10.8 rebounds in that first season, but his second year in Charlotte was a more trying campaign. He averaged 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds and shot a career-worst 48.1 percent from the field.
Jefferson was limited to 65 games this season because of a nagging knee injury. He’s hoping to lose some weight heading into his contract season next year.
By opting in, Jefferson will become an unrestricted free agent when the salary cap explodes in 2016. He’ll be 31 years old by that time and looking for his last big contract.