Well everyone, the free agency is upon us as of 5:00 PM CT today. We saw several re-signings of both superstars and role players alike, and several high upside guys such as Lonzo Ball switch teams. And then, 11:00 PM hits, and it happens… within three minutes, the biggest extension for a 23-year-old in Thunder history happened. Three minutes after the extension time frame starts, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Mr. Timeline himself — is brought back on a five year, $172 million deal to continue with our beloved OKC Thunder franchise. Now let’s talk about just what this massive contract means for Oklahoma City, and how it will shape winning culture that has been held here for the past decade.
Details of the Contract
Let’s talk real quick about a few minor details of SGA’s brand new piece of paper with his signature on it. He is being paid $34.4 million over the next five years, starting in the 2022-2023 season (he’s still obligated to finish his rookie deal for this next year, where he is entitled to about $4.7 million). However, here’s the kicker:
If SGA manages to make one or more All-NBA teams over the next 3 years, then that contract will turn into a $40.2 million contract for each year remaining on the deal, including the season in which the All-NBA recognition takes place. WOW folks. The Timeline has found his home here in Oklahoma City, and he clearly is regarded as the future of this franchise. And I have absolutely zero problem with it.
A Quick Little Thought
As soon as I saw the Woj notification regarding SGA’s brand new deal, of course I had to post about it on my @okcaccess page on Instagram! But when I got to thinking about this deal, I had this very thought:
OKC never once offered Shai in any deal for any pick in the draft. For one, it would make no sense for Presti to trade away Shai in hopes of drafting someone as good as… Shai. And two, it would make no sense for any team, Detroit included, to decline a trade-up offer for their pick if Shai is involved. And THEN, I had this thought:
If we were shopping him during the draft, and then couldn’t move him for picks…… then why not try to trade him in a deal for a bigger star? Obviously that didn’t happen. Why? BECAUSE SHAI IS THE STAR! There was never any risk at all of Mr. Timeline being moved at all this offseason, I guarantee you. The very bottom line I want you all to get is this:
You don’t pay someone $172 million over five years if you don’t believe in them. It makes no sense at all. Sam knows what he’s doing. That Paul George deal two years ago wasn’t with picks at the center of it. Presti knew that Shai was the centerpiece in that deal. And now SGA is statistically better than PG with much more room to grow!
Folks. Mr. Timeline is here to stay. Get used to hearing his name over and over and over and over and over.