While a certain Global Icon steals the headlines (and ESPN's airtime), the Oklahoma City Thunder have quietly locked up one of the elite players in the NBA, coming to an agreement on a five year, $85 million extension with Kevin Durant, per Durant's Twitter account.
Fanhouse's Sam Amick reports that Durant waved the customary player-option in the final year after the Thunder so aggressively came after him to re-sign, meaning that the extension is a full five-year deal with no chance of opting-out. Indeed, Thunder GM Sam Presti eschewed chasing free agents this summer, instead literally showing up at Durant's door at 12:01 EDT on July 1 to offer him a max extension, according to Fanhouse. The Thunder could have waited until next summer to lock up Durant, when a new CBA would likely include smaller max contracts, but the team did not want to risk alienating their franchise star, and he apparently rewarded their commitment to him by forgoing his player-option.
Obviously, locking up Durant is an absolute coup for the small-market Thunder, who have assembled quite a collection of young talent that figures to mature into a force in the Western Conference over the next few seasons. With the amiable, down-to-earth Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, James Harden and Serge Ibaka (not to mention recently drafted Cole Aldrich), the future is looking very bright in Oklahoma City.
And as if we needed any other reminders, locking up Durant for Rudy Gay money, as ESPN's Tom Haberstroh points out, is just another sign of how the smart GMs -- Presti and Morey -- rule the the NBA.