Thunder Re-Sign Kanter To Big Time Deal
By Addam Francisco
The pressure has been on the Oklahoma City Thunder to re-sign Thunder center Enes Kanter. Well, its official now. OKC matched the offer sheet by the Portland Trail Blazers, Executive Vice President and General Manager *Sam Presti* announced late this afternoon. The exact terms of the deal weren't disclosed but the contract is said to be a 4 year, $70 million deal.
“We traded for Enes last season with the intention of keeping him as a member of the Thunder for several years to come and we are excited that he will continue with us,” said Presti. “He adds valuable depth to our roster, diversity to our front court and the dimension that he brings offensively will positively impact.”
Kanter averaged 18.7 points along with 11 rebounds per game in 31.1 minutes of play last season. The 23-year-old big man registered 17 double-doubles last season including eight straight in the month of March for the Thunder which is a franchise record.
I think this is a home run deal personally. It seems like the same people who were upset about *James Harden *leaving the Thunder are upset about Enes Kanter signing a big-time deal with the Thunder. However, stat wise, Enes Kanter has the upper hand on the All-Star shooting guard. When James Harden left OKC following the 2011-2012 season, he averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, which are lower totals of Enes Kanter in his only season with OKC. The only thing he had over Enes in that comparison are assists and thats probably because Harden plays shooting guard and Kanter is a center. Defensively? They are pretty much equal in their poorness. The difference is publicity and showmanship. James was our first round pick and was a little more well-known out of college, and his spectacular long-range shooting and athletic ability stuck out. Thats not the case with Enes, he isn't a highlight reel or anything like that, but he is a spectacular young big man who does his job on the offensive end of the court. Also, considering his age he is still learning. He possibly could develop a respectable defensive game with development and playing with two defensive big men in Olympian Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams.
The only bad side of this deal, if there is one is the remaining and even more puzzling question of how will we keep Russell Westbrook and *Kevin Durant*? Durant’s contract will be up after the upcoming 2015-2016 season and Russell’s will be up after the following 2016-2017 season. Assuming they both stay at All-Star status, they will want more than what Kanter is making which is already a lot and possibly more than OKC has to spend, even with the increasing salary cap. Keep a close eye on this team this year and the years coming up. OKC has the fourth best odds to win the NBA title at 17/2, only behind defending champion Golden State, San Antonio and Cleveland.