Zeller, who has drafted fourth overall by the then-Charlotte Bobcats, has averaged 6.7 points, 5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 75.1 percent from the charity stripe. The former Indiana starter has made steady improvement over his brief NBA career, and the team clearly values the energy and athleticism he brings to the squad. The option is worth a little more than $5.318 million, according to BasketballReference.com.
It has been quite the 24 hours for Zeller. Just before the team officially announced that they were picking up the option, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported that Zeller had unexpectedly lost 10 pounds and is questionable for Tuesday night's showdown with the Chicago Bulls. He has tested negative for mono, which is a positive sign, but is still undergoing medical tests.
The move is not exactly surprising, but it is nice to see a player who has worked as hard as Zeller has to be properly rewarded for his efforts. He has worked to improve his shooting range and continues to be a valuable source of energy on both offense and defense for the Hornets.