Jefferson played three seasons with Paul Pierce in Boston
The Charlotte Hornets announced Monday that Al Jefferson exercised his player option to stay in with the team for the 2015-16 season. Next season will be the third and final season of the deal Jefferson signed with the Hornets in the summer of 2013.

Big Al told the Charlotte Observer in April that he didn't plan on opting out:

"I’ve got unfinished business here. That’s not even an option for me," Jefferson said as the team closed the book on a 33-49 season. "Unless something dramatic changed, I can’t see myself opting out, and leaving that bad taste in my mouth. And in the Charlotte Hornets’ mouth. I can’t walk away from that."

"I wasn’t the player I need to be to get this team to the next level," said Jefferson, 30. "I’m still a young man with a lot of great basketball in me. Like coach (Steve Clifford) always says – the responsibility (to lead) is with him and the best players. I’m disappointed in myself. I’ve got to redeem myself."

Jefferson went on to say that he planned to lose 25 pounds in the offseason, with the hope of relieving some pressure in his ailing knees. A groin injury and knee soreness limited Big Al to only 65 games last season and also impacted his play when he was on the court.

He averaged 16.6 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field compared to 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 51 percent from the field in 2013-14.

Jefferson will make $13.5 million next year, before becoming eligible for free agency in the crazy summer of 2016. Picking up the player option makes financial sense for Jefferson as his next contract will come just as the NBA's salary cap is expected to balloon to $89 million in 2016-17.

This takes one potential big-man target away from the Celtics, although I'm not sure Big Al is exactly the type of player the Celtics need right now. Either way, he'll be a free agent next year and will garner major interest on the open market.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @Greeny93

Nick Greenhalgh 6/15/2015 05:17:00 PM Edit
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