By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Word unofficially leaked out at the beginning of the week that a deal was on the way and today the Thunder officially announced the team has signed Spanish sensation Alex Abrines.
The Thunder drafted Abrines in the second round of the 2013 draft and he has remained in Spain, playing for Barcelona and is also a member of the Spanish National Team.
Abrines was given time off from the Spanish team this week to finish up details of buying out his contract with Barcelona and then signing his new deal with OKC.
The website EuroHoops.net reported on Monday that Abrines and the Thunder had agreed to a 3-year contract worth about $18 million.
Here is the official release from the Thunder:
The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed guard Alex Abrines to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Abrines was originally selected by the Thunder with the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and this past season, Abrines appeared in 37 games with FC Barcelona where he averaged 8.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists. During EuroLeague competition Abrines shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range.
“We are pleased to welcome Alex to the Thunder organization,” said Presti. “He brings a unique blend of international experience and skill for his age. He will continue to add depth and versatility to our core of perimeter players.”
At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, Abrines was named the EuroLeague’s Rising Star, as voted on by the league’s coaches. Additionally, Abrines received All-Spanish Liga Endesa Honorable Mention honors this past year after helping lead FC Barcelona to the Supercup and a spot in the League Finals.
“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to join an organization like the Oklahoma City Thunder,” said Abrines. “I look forward to meeting my teammates and contributing any way that I can as a member of the team.”
A member of the Spanish National Team, Abrines previously won a gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship and a bronze medal at the 2012 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship.
Before Kevin Durant left the Thunder for the Golden State Warriors it’s believed the Thunder were planning on Abrines staying in Spain for this coming season but Durant’s departure changed the timeline and it likely also changed the Thunder’s opinion on bringing back Dion Waiters.
With Abrines and Victor Oladipo now officially under contract it makes it almost a certainty Waiters won’t return. Both Oladipo and Abrines can play shooting guard, Oladipo can also handle the point and Abrines can play small forward. Waiters spent time at all three of those positions but the combined salaries of Abrines and Oladipo this season will be less than what Waiters would likely make.
The Thunder also need stay under the salary cap as they continue efforts to talk Russell Westbrook into renegotiating and extending his current contract.