Thunder Signing Spanish Sensation Alex Abrines?
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The James Harden trade has mostly been treated with derision by the national media (and some here in Oklahoma) because the Thunder sent a future All-Star to the Houston Rockets for the likes of Jeremy Lamb.
But the Thunder also received a draft pick that turned into Steven Adams, who may well become an All-Star next season and they also got a pick they used to draft Spanish sensation Alex Abrines.
Abrines has remained in Spain since that 2013 draft and was named the EuroLeague Rising Star this past season and now comes word from EuroHoops.net that the Thunder are ready to bring Abrines to the NBA.
The website is quoting sources in Europe who say the deal is done and will be for 3-years, $18 million.
There’s been a lot of speculation about Abrines’ future but he’s signed with Barcelona through 2019, his contract has a buyout option for the Thunder but recent speculation had the Thunder deciding to keep Abrines in Spain for one more season.
A lot has changed since some of that speculation, namely Kevin Durant has moved on from the Thunder to the Warriors creating a roster hole and available minutes.
Abrines came off the bench for much of the season with Barcelona and according to Basketball-Reference.com he averaged 9.3 points in 25 EuroLeague games on 46.9 percent shooting overall and 41.7 percent on threes. He also hit 83.3 percent of his free throws. He played in 27 “club” games for Barcelona (against lesser competition than the EuroLeague) where he averaged 9.9 points on 51.2 percent shooting overall and 45.0 percent from beyond the arc. He hit 90.0 percent of his free throws in those games.
Abrines is listed as 6-6 by Basketball-Reference but is shown as being 6-7 on other sites. He can play shooting guard and small forward which will come in handy on the Thunder roster.
According to EuroHoops.net the buyout for Abrines’ contract is approximately $2.2 million. The Thunder could pay up to $650,000 of that buyout and Abrines would have to take care of the rest but if the report of that $18 million deal is true that won’t be a problem.
Bringing Abrines over for this season could mean the Thunder have decided not to keep shooting guard Dion Waiters around. Waiters is a restricted free agent. He hasn’t signed an offer sheet from another team but has had discussions with several. The Thunder would be able to match any offer Waiters receives if they want.
Abrines is on the Spanish National team and is planning to play the Summer Olympics.
There’s been no comment from the Thunder.