By R.L. Bynum
The Orlando Magic exercised its third-year option on guard Cole Anthony on Tuesday, extended his contract through the 2022–23 season.
The Magic selected Anthony as the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft after he played one season at Carolina. The first two seasons for a first-round pick are fully guaranteed in the contract but the last two seasons are team options.
If teams don’t pick up the options before the regular season starts, those players can be free agents during the following offseason.
Anthony came off the bench Monday in Orlando’s exhibition opener, a 98–87 road loss to the Boston Celtics, and scored a team-high 16 points in 22 minutes on 6 of 12 shooting and had six rebounds and six assists. Anthony was 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
Jalen Suggs, the rookie guard from Gonzaga, started the game and he was never on the court at the same time as Anthony.
“I told you all at Summer League that that was just a warmup,” Anthony told The Athletic. “I’m in midseason form right now. I’m ready to get out there and help this team get some wins. I feel good. Practices have been super intense. Everyone’s looking on-point. I think this could be a pretty good season for us. I’m excited.”
Anthony, beginning his second NBA season, started in 34 of his 47 games last season, averaging 12.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 27.1 minutes per game while shooting 83.2% from the free-throw line.
Among NBA rookies, he ranked fourth in scoring, tied for seventh in rebounds, fourth assists, fifth in free-throw percentage and ninth in minutes played.
Antony led or tied as Orlando’s scoring leader six times, led the team in rebounding three times and led the Magic in assists 18 times. He scored in double figures 32 times, scoring at least 20 points four times, with his career high of 37 on May 17 at Chicago.
In Anthony’s one season as a Tar Heel, the 2019–20 season, he averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists in 22 games, shooting 38% from the floor and 34.8% from 3-point range.
His career high at UNC was 34 points at home against Notre Dame in his first college game, a 76–65 victory Nov. 6, 2019.
Orlando also picked up the third-year team options for guard R.J. Hampton, a former Duke player, and forward Chumba Okeke.