The Thunder dealt with the Magic to get Victor Oladipo.
Now, it’s time to negotiate with Oladipo, who’s eligible for a rookie-scale contract extension.
How much does he want?
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
(for now) seeking the maximum salary, sources say.
Why shouldn’t he?
C.J. McCollum just got a max extension, and while I’d prefer McCollum over Oladipo, their value is comparable. McCollum is a superior shooter, but Oladipo is more advanced defensively. Two factors working in McCollum’s favor — youth and a shortage of good shooting guards in the NBA — also apply to Oladipo.
Perhaps, the max rules kept McCollum from earning more. Even if he’s not quite as valuable as McCollum, Oladipo still might deserve the max. That’s a pitfall (feature?) of the system.
But a difference between the Trail Blazers’ and Thunder’s cap outlooks could be key.
If he doesn’t sign an extension, Oladipo will count $13,105,921 against the cap to begin next offseason. Oklahoma City can hold him at that number, use its other cap space then exceed the cap to re-sign him with Bird Rights.
If he signs an extension, he’ll count all offseason at his 2017-18 salary — which is projected to have a max of about $24 million.
Because Oklahoma City is more likely than Portland to have 2017 cap space, that difference matters considerably. The Thunder could use an extra $11 million of flexibility, especially as they handle Russell Westbrook‘s free agency.
Oladipo almost certainly won’t sign an extension that starts at less than his $13,105,921 cap hold. So, any extension will cut into the Thunder’s 2017 space. But he could take enough of a discount to make it worth their while over the life of the deal.
There’s plenty of time for compromise. Oladipo’s extension deadline is Oct. 31.
For now, Oladipo should keep asking for the biggest payday.