Free Agency...Telfair Visits OKC
By Randy Renner
We're starting to get a little clearer picture now of some of the players it appears the Thunder are interested in as we go through the early stages of free agency.
So far the list includes mostly point guards and shooters. Sebastian Telfair was in Oklahoma City Tuesday visiting with Thunder officials. He also took time to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and posted a photo on his Instagram account.
Vince Carter has also drawn interest from the Thunder but the Mavericks will go all out to re-sign him. Rashard Lewis has been contacted by OKC and so has Caron Butler. There was a lot of talk on Monday that Pau Gasol would talk to the Thunder but so far as we know that has not happened and may not happen. Gasol is getting interest from a lot teams who can pay him more money than the Thunder can.
Since OKC is over the current salary cap and even over the projected new cap the Thunder can only offer free agents a mid-level exception worth about $5.3 million and a non-taxpayer exception worth about $3.2 million so the Thunder are more limited than other teams who have dumped salaries in order to get under the cap.
At the moment it looks like the Thunder would have as good a shot as anybody to land both Telfair and Lewis but neither is likely to ignite much excitement with fans. However, they are both veterans who could help some of the young guys on the roster and the Thunder also reached out to him last season.
The 6-0, 165 pound Telfair didn't play in the NBA last season, he was over in China where he had an outstanding year. He averaged 26 points and six assists as a point guard for Tianjin Ronggang.
Telfair's career numbers in the NBA are 7.4 points and 3.5 assists per game. Overall he's hit 39.1 percent of his shots (32.0 percent on threes) so those numbers don't really light anyone up.
His last season in the NBA, 2012-13, he split between Phoenix and Toronto. He averaged 5.6 points and 2.6 assists, shooting 36.2 percent overall and 35.3 percent from deep. His shooting percentage beyond the arc was the second best of his career.
Lewis was a star with the Seattle SuperSonics when the Oklahoma City ownership group bought the team. Lewis was sent to Orlando at the start of the 2007-08 season as part of a sign and trade deal.
His last year in Seattle was the best of his career (22.4 ppg) and his numbers have been declining ever since.
He is 6-10 though and can play shooting guard or small forward and he can still knock down 3-balls. He started getting more attention from teams during the Heat's run through the playoffs last season when he hit 37.3 percent of his long ball attempts.
Keep checking back, we will update the site throughout free agency with all the latest information about players the Thunder are interested in bringing aboard.