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

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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.