In the days ahead, the Orlando Magic will reportedly exercise their third-year option on the contract of Shabazz Napier, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. The move will lock in his salary of $1.35 million for the 2016/17 season, according to Basketball Insiders. Napier was already set to earn a little less than $1.3 million for the coming season.
Orlando acquired Napier, now 24, from the Miami Heat in July. The Heat cut ties with him after one season due to their desire to trim their salary-cap figure.
In his one pro season, Napier averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 turnovers in 51 appearances, including 10 starts. Prior to joining the Heat, the 6-foot-1 dynamo shone as a collegian for Connecticut, captaining the Huskies to a national title in 2014 by averaging 18 points, 5.9 boards, 4.9 assists, and 1.8 steals. He tallied 22 points, six boards, three assists, and three steals in the title game as Connecticut topped Kentucky.
At present, Napier stands as Orlando's fifth-leading preseason scorer, posting 10.2 points per game on 48.5 percent shooting from the floor and 60 percent shooting from three-point range. Though not a natural playmaker, Napier's score-first mentality and outside shooting stroke make him an asset offensively, and a decent third-string point guard behind Elfrid Payton and C.J. Watson.
Picking up Napier's option keeps him under Magic control for the next two seasons. The expected move signals a degree of confidence in the young floor general, and a relatively modest financial investment in his potential.