Yes, it was merely a formality, but the formality wasn’t forgotten.
Star guard Donovan Mitchell and lesser-known center Tony Bradley both had their third-year options officially picked up by the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, well before the October 31st deadline to do so. The procedure means both players will still be under team control for at least two more seasons.
NBA contracts for first-round picks, as both Mitchell and Bradley were, are standardized four-year contracts. But teams must exercise the options for the third and fourth years of the contracts one full season before in order to keep their draftees around.
At the end of the four-year contract, teams have the option to make the first-rounders “restricted” free agents, which means their original team has the ability to match any offer the player receives in free agency and retain them. In practice, the drafting team has about 7-9 years of team control over its first-round picks, something especially relevant in Mitchell’s case.
As a rookie, Mitchell led the Jazz in scoring last year at 20.5 points per game, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year race behind Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons.
Bradley had a less stellar rookie campaign, playing nine games in a Jazz uniform and 24 with the Salt Lake City Stars. In the G League, he averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game. That being said, he’s two years younger than Mitchell, and was drafted with longer-term development in mind.