Restricted free agent guard Daequan Cook on Friday agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Thunder. The deal, worth $6.5 million, will keep the sharpshooter in Oklahoma City through the 2012-13 season.
Cook did not participate in the start of practice Friday while waiting for the deal to be finalized by the league office. But he will join the team Saturday after the contract was approved late Friday night.
Cook’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman called the continued relationship a good fit.
“He always wanted to come back, but it had to make sense for him,” Conley Sr. said. “They were able to do that, and he’s looking forward to the year.”
The Thunder had repeatedly expressed a desire to retain Cook, who shot 44 percent on corner 3-pointers last season en route to a career-high 42.2 percent accuracy from beyond the arc. But the organization had to be careful to not overpay and risk financial hardship down the line. By offering a two-year deal, the Thunder will not have Cook on the books when potential contract extensions for James Harden and Serge Ibaka would kick in at the start of the 2013-14 season.
“To have him back on our team was big,” said Kevin Durant. “His role for us last year kind of grew toward the end of the season. I’m looking forward to seeing that progress and build on that coming into this year.”
DURANT GETS RIPPED
The “rip” move that frequently has sent Durant to the free-throw line will be a “point of emphasis” this season by officiating crews, who will rule it a non-shooting foul if the offensive player has not already begun his shooting motion.
“I heard it's still a foul but not a shooting foul,” said Durant, who excels at the move. “I didn't get it as much last year as I did the year before, but there are changes you've got to make. That's what being a pro is all about.”
Durant playfully suggested he might use the move when the opponent is in foul trouble. “Hopefully in the bonus I can get me one of those and still get to the free-throw line,” Durant said with a smile.
Asked if he might start his rip move with his hands held a little higher rather than low, Durant said: “I just might have to get rid of it. Just keep playing the game, man. Just keep being me and hopefully one of those calls goes my way.”
HERE'S TO YOU, MR. ROBINSON
With the re-signing of Cook, The lone player absent from last year's Thunder roster is reserve guard Nate Robinson, who remains back home in Seattle while both sides try to find a long-term solution. Acquired from the Boston Celtics with Kendrick Perkins in a Feb. 24 trade, Robinson is in the last year of his contract at $4.5 million this season.
“It's tough,” Durant said of Robinson. “Nate was an unbelievable teammate, really helped me out, helped a lot of guys out. He's a good friend of ours, off the court as well. We wish him the best. Hopefully, things get worked out for him. We're still going to keep in contact with him. It's tough not to see him out here in practice because he brings us so much energy. He always gave us confidence no matter what, so he was an unbelievable teammate.”
Russell Westbrook: “Nate is a good guy, man. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to come back with us, but Nate is always going to find a team. He's a great guy to be around.”
OSU'S DOVE REJOINS THUNDER
Former Oklahoma State forward Marcus Dove is one of three players added to the Thunder's training camp roster, joining Stanford guard Anthony Goods and Syracuse forward Terrence Roberts.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Dove is a former Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year who played last season with Goods for the Dakota Wizards of the NBA D-League. In 41 games with the Wizards, Dove averaged 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Goods last season appeared in 39 D-League contests and averaged 17.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 32.5 minutes. Goods twice was named Pacific-10 honorable mention.
The 6-foot-9, 240-pound Roberts spent time after college playing in Greece, Israel, Japan and the Ukraine before joining the Los Angeles D-Fenders in the D-League.
Dove previously signed with the Thunder in the summer of 2009 and played at the Summer League in Las Vegas.
“He did a good job for us,” OKC coach Scott Brooks recalled. “He's a hustler. He's scrappy. He plays hard, and he competes and that's the reason we brought him into camp. He's in a tough situation, but you never know. You have to put yourself in a position to earn the job with great effort, and he had that today. We have no complaints with the three guys we brought in. I thought they all picked up things quickly.”