The Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday extended Daequan Cook a qualifying offer, which officially makes the sharpshooting guard a restricted free agent this summer.
The team had until June 30 to exercise the option. By doing so, the Thunder now has the right to match any contract offer Cook might receive from another team this summer.
Cook, entering his fifth season out of Ohio State, on numerous occasions has voiced his desire to return to the Thunder next season. The feeling is believed to be mutual on the part of the organization.
In 43 games, Cook averaged 5.6 points while connecting on a career-high 42.2 percent of his 3-point attempts in just 13.9 minutes per game. Cook's perimeter shooting was a sorely needed asset at times for the Thunder throughout the regular season and postseason.
Cook impressed the Thunder's coaching staff and front office with his ability to both play through adversity and knock down shots in limited minutes. Cook was relegated to the bench for 34 straight games during a stretch that spanned more than two months from mid-November to mid-January. That benching came after he started the season 3-for-16 from 3-point range.
But Cook averaged 6.4 points on 45 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line upon his return to the rotation. His effectiveness provided a much needed boost to a Thunder team that was one of the worst 3-point shooting teams early in the season. With Cook in the lineup for most of the second half of the season, the Thunder shot 36.6 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break, three percentage points higher than its pre All-Star average.
“He's not a guy that got a ton of opportunity but was ready and prepared when that opportunity came about,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said of Cook at the end of the season.
Because of the NBA's expiring collective bargaining agreement, teams cannot come to terms on new contracts with players until a new labor agreement is reached.