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Sixers exercise third year option on Zhaire Smith’s rookie deal

NBA: Preseason-Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

According to a team press release, the Philadelphia 76ers have exercised the third year option on Zhaire Smith’s contract:

PHILADELPHIA – OCT. 16, 2019 – Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand announced today that the team has exercised the 2020-21 third-year contract option for Zhaire Smith.

Smith has appeared in each of the 76ers’ four preseason games this month, most recently posting seven points in 12 minutes in a win over Detroit. In July, at MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2019, Smith was second on the team with averages of 12.4 points and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting .480 from the field.

The second-year player saw action in six games (two starts) as a rookie, averaging 6.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 18.5 minutes per game. In the season finale against Chicago on April 10, he posted career highs with 17 points (7-13 FG), four rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes.

Originally selected by Phoenix with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Smith was acquired by Philadelphia in a draft-night trade. Prior to the draft, he played one collegiate season at Texas Tech, averaging 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals in 28.4 minutes per game. Smith helped lead the Red Raiders to the 2018 Elite Eight, its first such appearance in program history, averaging 12.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in four NCAA Tournament games.

As the press release notes, the option is for the 2020-21 season.

This is a no brainer. Smith was set back basically an entire season due to a severe allergic reaction that left him hospitalized, underweight, and out of shape. So far through four preseason games, he’s received mostly garbage time minutes, which is certainly disappointing. But make no mistake, he’s a tantalizing prospect with dreamy athletic upside who turned 20 years old just 4 months ago.

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