Thunder Still Playing "Let's Make A Deal"

By Randy Renner, Senior Writer

Thunder GM Sam Presti has already reeled in one big fish during free agency but he continues to try and lure at least one more.

Presti and the Indiana Pacers agreed on Friday to swap 4-Time All-Star Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domas Sabonis in a deal that still has NBA heads wagging.

On Saturday the target was free agent forward Rudy Gay, who spent much of the day in Oklahoma City talking with Thunder officials, players and touring the facilities.

He and his agent left without a deal being signed. The Thunder are hamstrung financially because they are over the salary cap and can only offer the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is worth about $8.4 million.

Gay opted out of the final year of his contract in Sacramento, a deal that would have paid him more than $14 million so you can see why he's hesitant to take less than at least $10 to $12 million.

A sign and trade option has been explored with the Kings but so far the teams aren't very close to a deal.

Gay met with the Clippers on Sunday and may have a couple of other suitors as well. The fact that's he's coming off an Achilles injury has hurt his overall ability to get to the money range he would prefer and that could end up playing in the Thunder's favor.

Other Free Agency News

Free agent forward Taj Gibson has agreed to what's being reported as a 2-year, $28 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, ending what little realistic hope the Thunder had of bringing him back.

Losing Gibson probably opens the door wide to getting a deal done with restricted free agent Andre Roberson.

The overall market for restricted free agents has not been very good and Roberson's best option is probably with the Thunder.

Sign 'Em Up

None of these reported deals can be signed until July 6th so any of you wondering when Paul George might be introduced locally will have to wait until at least Thursday and possibly later.

Summer League Update

The Thunder Summer League team came from behind to stun the Detroit Pistons 92-91 on Saturday. A brain freeze by NBA referee Haywood Workeman allowed guard Daniel Hamilton to shoot two free throws (instead of just one per NBA rules) after being fouled on an inbounds play with 10 seconds left in the game.

Hamilton converted both free throws then when Josh Huestis missed a jumper Hamilton was there for the putback, was fouled and dropped in another free throw, scoring five points in 10 seconds to secure the win.

Rookie guard Terrance Ferguson didn't play because he hasn't signed his contract. Agent Rich Paul has held other clients out in the past and is apparently doing so again. Teams can offer rookies anywhere from 80 to 120 percent of the scale for their draft slot.

Most picks are offered the full 120 percent but the Thunder convinced Roberson to sign for just 80 percent on his rookie deal and may be doing the same with Ferguson.

The Thunder summer leaguers were off on Sunday and will play the New York Knicks today at noon, you can see it on NBA-TV.



Randy RennerComment