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OKC Thunder: Q&A with Tom Penn

Penn is a former Portland Trail Blazers vice president of basketball operations and current ESPN NBA analyst
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 30, 2013

What would have re-signing James to a max deal done to the Thunder's financial future?

“The next couple of years as constituted they're about $5 million to $8 million under (the tax threshold) for the next couple of years. And had they given a near-max deal, they weren't willing to give the max, they would have swung into tax territory year over year. They could have backed their way out by, you've heard about their ability to maybe amnesty Kendrick Perkins. But what would have been more likely would have been trade him to one of these teams with cap room. They wouldn't just amnesty him. But they could have found a home for him to relieve the financial pressure. But it would have just put them on a course where if they wanted to incrementally improve that core four they would have had to likely go deeper into the tax.”

Why might amnestying Perkins not be a realistic possibility?

“That gets thrown around a lot as an alternative. There are a couple of challenges with it. The first one is you have to do it early. I think we in the media try to come up with a laundry list of guys likely to be amnestied just so that we have a laundry list. But the likelihood in a lot of these cases is a lot more slim because you're just giving up on paying talent to go somewhere else and play. A player like Kendrick Perkins, if they wanted to move him, as a dependable big with championship experience, I would think they could park him in someone else's cap room because someone would have a use for him.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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