Dan Feldman

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 26: Victor Oladipo #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on October 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Thunder defeated the 76ers 103-97. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Report: Thunder agree to four-year, $84 million contract extension with Victor Oladipo


The Thunder were talking contract extensions with Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo, and it seemed they were making more headway with Adams.

But Oladipo beat him to the punch.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Paying Oladipo $21 million per year seems fair enough. In league with a dearth of quality wings and an increased need for them in order to play small, Oladipo might have gotten a max deal in free agency. So, Oklahoma City shaves a little off a deal that could have paid about $26 million annually.

But Oladipo was also no lock to receive a max offer sheet. He has yet to shoot league average on 3-pointers, and his defensive presence is only beginning to be established. It would have been reasonable for the Thunder to gauge Oladipo’s development this year before committing so much money.

Still, the 24-year-old Oladipo is an excellent athlete who’s starting to put his defensive tools to good use. An improving 3-point shot could open the rest of his offense.

This is not a perfect bet. It is not a bad bet.

Oladipo’s extension could also open the door to Adams signing one. A concern with both extensions was reducing cap flexibility next offseason, but Oladipo’s extension already erases plenty of Oklahoma City’s maneuverability. An Adams extension would present diminishing losses in cap room at this point.

Also keep an eye on what Serge Ibaka gets this summer. The Thunder traded the pending unrestricted free agent for Oladipo, likely thinking locking up Oladipo would be easier than Ibaka.

Report: NBA teams watching Hornets-Cody Zeller contract-extension negotiations in particular

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 21:  Cody Zeller #40 of the Charlotte Hornets and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs battle for a loose ball during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rookie-scale extensions are important, but they’re not that important.

Teams can make un-extended players restricted free agents the following summer, so it’s not as if the players can just get away. Their incumbent team can always match an offer sheet. Sometimes, whether or not to extend a player is mostly about salary-cap timing.

So, don’t assume anyone not extended by tonight’s deadline will be on a new team soon. Most of them will return to their current team next season.

But players who don’t sign extensions are more likely to switch teams than those who do, and one player in particular – the Hornets’ Cody Zeller – is being treated as a flight risk.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This strikes me as wishful thinking by teams that want to poach Zeller.

The Hornets have just $83,078,368 committed next season, and that includes nearly all their top players: Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams and Frank Kaminsky. Re-signing Zeller to the max – and I doubt it would take that – wouldn’t even get Charlotte near the projected luxury-tax line.

Zeller has carved out a nice niche as an inside-outside center. At just 24, he should remain productive throughout his next contract. Plus, Hornets coach Steve Clifford has proven adept at crafting a defensive system that works without a rim-protecting center. Charlotte can get the most out of Zeller’s skills without feeling the downside.

But I don’t know Michael Jordan’s exact appetite for spending.

The question: Do these other teams, or are they just hoping?

Report: Thunder, Steven Adams progressing toward four-year, $100 million contract extension

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 08:  Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder high-fives Enes Kanter #11 after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Thunder defeated the Suns 122-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Thunder have gone from talking with Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo about contact extensions to what sounds like significant progress with Adams.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Adams, just 23, has already proven himself to be a reliable starting center on a championship contender. Oklahoma City will have its work cut out to reach that level again without Durant, but locking up Adams is a step – albeit potentially a limiting one.

Though it’s always great to keep a player of Adams’ caliber around, this will probably hurt the Thunder’s cap flexibility next summer. Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement – which could change in this regard – Adams would count just $7,851,293 against the cap to start next offseason if not extended. Oklahoma City could then use his Bird Rights to exceed the cap to re-sign him after spending other cap space first. Even if Adams’ cap hold would be higher under the new CBA, I doubt it nears his $24 million or so salary in 2017-18 – which would be his cap number if he signs this extension.

That would limit the Thunder’s ability to sign a free agent like Blake Griffin. And if that opportunity is already compromised anyway, it makes even more sense to extend Oladipo, who presents similar cap-hold issues.

While Oladipo is a good fit on paper, Adams has already proven himself a valued team member in Oklahoma City. He has nice pick-and-roll chemistry with Russell Westbrook, and he’s willing to do the dirty work defensively and on the glass. At his age, he should remain productive through the next four years and maybe even improve.

Adams is worth $100 million over four years. The only question is whether the Thunder are wise to give it to him now. If they wait, he’ll be a restricted free agent, and they could match any offer – though it’s quite possible, maybe even likely, he gets the max next summer.

Either way, this makes Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s extension – for the same price – look like even more of a bargain.

Hawks reportedly release Walter Tavares, to sign Ryan Kelly with Mike Scott out four weeks

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 13:  Tobias Harris #34 of the Detroit Pistons defends against a pass to Ryan Kelly #30 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on October 13, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kristaps Porzingis and Boban Marjanovic now stand alone as the tallest players in the NBA.

The other 7-foot-3 player is now out of the league.

The Hawks waived Walter Tavares to sign Ryan Kelly with Mike Scott injured.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Hawks release:

Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Scott will miss approximately four weeks while undergoing a series of non-surgical procedures for his left knee soreness.

This indicates Tiago Splitter is on track to return from his injury before Scott from his.

Kelly, a stretch four, attended training camp with the Hawks. He got cut, but there could be a role for him with Scott now hurt.

Tavares is an interior-oriented center who already somewhat duplicates Dwight Howard and would become even more superfluous when Splitter returns.

Report: Rockets declining Tyler Ennis’ fourth-year team option

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Jordan Clarkson #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers scores on his layup as he is fouled by Tyler Ennis #6 of the Houston Rockets during a 120-114 season opening win at Staples Center on October 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tyler Ennis received a stay of execution when, after an initial report to the contrary, the Rockets kept him into the regular season.

But Houston will let the point guard hit free agency soon enough.

The Rockets are declining Ennis’ $2,666,707 team option for 2017-18.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Ennis will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. The Rockets can pay him a starting salary up to just $2,666,707. Other teams can offer any amount up to the max.

Clearly, Ennis is unlikely long for Houston.

In the meantime, Ennis is playing regularly but limitedly behind James Harden. Ennis will likely fall from the rotation once Patrick Beverley returns from injury.

The No. 18 pick in 2014, Ennis hasn’t shown much in the NBA. But he’s just 22, and there’s a chance he develops into a $2.7 million player – a relatively low salary in the new NBA landscape.

Dropping Ennis might be the difference between the Rockets having cap space or being limited to the mid-level exception next summer. So, I see why they declined the option.

But the upside of exercising the option would’ve been so high – a young player on a cheap deal for an extra year, which could’ve been followed by restricted free agency.

The Solomon Hill case must be noted. The Pacers declined his $2,306,019 2016-17 team option last fall. This summer, he signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Pelicans.

Is Ennis likely to follow that path? No. But with rookie-scale salaries so low relative to the cap, the odds needn’t be high to justify a swing on Ennis’ team option.

That the Rockets still declined suggests they believe that little in his development – or that they’re squandering a potential asset.