Report: Phoenix Suns decline Jalen Smith’s 3rd-year team option

Nov 1, 2021, 8:36 AM

Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns grabs a loose ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 20...

Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns grabs a loose ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns have declined the third-year team option on forward Jalen Smith’s contract for the 2022-23 season, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Monday.

He would have made $4.7 million on that option but now becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The Suns selected Smith with the 10th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He signed a four-year rookie contract valued at $19.3 million, according to his draft slot.

All rookie contracts have team options for the third and fourth years.

Smith, 21, was not in the Suns’ rotation as a rookie and was even shipped to the G League for six games to earn playing time, a rarity for a lottery pick.

He saw mostly garbage time in 27 regular season games with the Suns last year, averaging 5.8 minutes per game.

He has, however, made two appearances this season, putting together an energetic nine minutes Saturday in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He played both big man spots and recorded four points, five rebounds, a block and a steal in nine minutes of play — though he went 1-of-4 from the field.

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled Summer League in the offseason he was drafted, Smith impressed this summer in four appearances, recording a double-double in each game.

His best single-game performance in the Summer League came against the Denver Nuggets on Aug. 12. He led the Suns with 21 points and 11 rebounds.

Smith led the Summer League with 12.5 rebounds per game, adding 16.3 points. His efforts earned him a spot on the All-Summer League First Team.

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