With the Thunder‘s rebuilding process underway, one definite part of the foundation is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The third-year guard will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension this summer, and Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti recently spoke about the possibility of getting something done.
“We have a big conversation that we’ll be able to have with Shai coming up in the offseason,” Presti said, per Bobby Marks of ESPN. “We’re really looking forward to that. His impact on the team was pretty obvious, and we think he’s a very, very bright rising player in the NBA. We couldn’t be more excited about the growth he took, both as a player but also as a leader during the year.”
Gilgeous-Alexander was acquired from the Clippers two years ago in the trade that sent Paul George to Los Angeles. He averaged 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his first season with the Thunder and was posting a 23.7/4.7/5.9 line through 35 games this year before being sidelined by plantar fasciitis.
“I thought he helped a lot of our guys improve and put them in position to be successful, and that got much tougher when he wasn’t on the court, which is an indicator that he’s a good player,” Presti said. “That’s what you want.”
There’s more from Oklahoma City:
- The Thunder tied for the fourth-worst record in the league and Presti is willing to be patient with trying to mold the team back into a playoff contender, Marks notes in the same story. Although OKC has plenty of cap space, the team won’t be chasing any of the top names when free agency begins next month. The Thunder have six picks in the upcoming draft, along with trade exceptions worth $27.5MM, $12.8MM, $10.1MM and $9.6MM. “You stick to your principles, you stick to your values, you think in the best interests of the organization long term,” Presti said. “In our case we’re really focused on building a sustainably great team in Oklahoma City. I think good things will happen, and I think we should be optimistic about that and continue to be forward facing with that respect.”
- Oklahoma City secured a first-round pick by acquiring Kemba Walker from the Celtics, and the Thunder are in position to do it again, Marks adds. He suggests the Nets may be willing to part with the 27th selection to move DeAndre Jordan, who is owed nearly $20MM over the next two seasons.
- There was talk of Vasilije Micic joining the Thunder next season, but the reigning EuroLeague MVP has agreed to a three-year contract extension with Anadolu Efes, according to Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohooops. The 27-year-old point guard will have an NBA out next summer and in 2023.