In an expected move, Washington Wizards guard Jodie Meeks exercised the player option of his contract for the 2018-19 season, according to league sources. Meeks’s return will signal a hit to the salary cap while also ensuring the Wizards will be shorthanded to start next season.
With Meeks, the Wizards have 10 players under contract. The sharpshooter is expected to earn $3.45 million next season and though his individual income appears meager compared to the team’s core players John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr., the cumulative amount will push the team’s 2018-19 salary past $124 million. If the league’s salary cap remains similar to last season, Washington will likely return to the luxury tax for the second straight year.
Meeks had until June 24 to exercise his option. Washington has the No. 15 pick in the upcoming draft and must fill out the roster with at least three more players via trade or free agency.
Although Meeks, who will be 31 by the start of next season, has elected to play one more year in Washington, he won’t be on the court for the first 19 games. In April, as the Wizards prepared for their first-round playoff matchup against the Toronto Raptors, the NBA issued a 25-game suspension to Meeks for violating terms of the NBA/NBPA anti-drug program. He has 19 games remaining on the ban, following the Wizards’ six-game series with Toronto.
During his first season in Washington, Meeks struggled to find a role and averaged only 6.3 points and 34.3 percent shooting from the three-point arc, which had been his specialty.