ORLANDO, Fla. — So much for a free-agent frenzy.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, the shopping spree was over before it ever began.
On the first day that teams could officially sign players to contracts, the Thunder inked two players that will serve as the 14th and 15th men, filling the roster to the maximum allowable players and forming the team we'll see come training camp next fall.
Hasheem Thabeet officially signed a multiyear contract Wednesday morning, and the Thunder announced Wednesday afternoon that it had signed undrafted forward Hollis Thompson.
Thabeet's deal originally was reported to be a two-year, fully guaranteed deal. But The Oklahoman has learned that Thabeet's contract is only partially guaranteed and could keep him in Oklahoma City for a total of three seasons.
Thompson, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Georgetown, inked a similar three-year, partially guaranteed deal for the league minimum. It's a deal that will pay Thompson $473,604 in the first year of his deal if he makes the team and about $2.2 million over the life of the deal if he sticks in Oklahoma City.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome Hasheem to our organization,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti. “We look forward to him continuing his development as a young player as a member of the Thunder.”
Thabeet was not made available to the media on Wednesday in Orlando, where he has joined the team for its participation in the weeklong Orlando Pro Summer League. Thompson will travel to Oklahoma City next week.
Their additions cap a relatively uneventful Thunder offseason. Perry Jones III, who the Thunder selected with the 28th overall pick in last month's draft, is the only other player the Thunder added.
Jones, Thabeet and Thompson will replace veterans Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed and Royal Ivey, all of whom are unrestricted free agents now after playing out the final year of their contracts last season.
Depending on your viewpoint, it might seem like a disappointing result for a team that fell short in the NBA Finals. But the Thunder is banking on its improvement in 2012-13 to come from in-house development rather than marquee additions.
“We don't have to make major changes or get a whole new team in here,” Kevin Durant said two days after the season. “We just have to stick to what we have been doing the last few years … Guys need to keep coming in and getting better and we know it will take from the first guy to the last guy to get (a championship).”
Thompson is a sharpshooter who hit 44 percent of this 3-point field goal attempts during his three-year college career. He averaged 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his junior season with the Hoyas. With the Thunder, his role would be as a shooting specialist who spots up on the perimeter or curls off screens for catch-and-shoot opportunities.
After agreeing to a deal with Thabeet, the Thunder had one final spot on its roster. But rather than waiting until training camp to fill it, Oklahoma City capitalized on the opportunity to add a player it had followed closely during the college season and all throughout the draft process. By signing now, Thompson can workout with the Thunder over the summer and position himself to be ahead of schedule when training camp begins in the fall.
Thompson, though, has a sports hernia that will keep him away from basketball activities for the next three weeks. He is having surgery on Thursday to repair the condition. It's an injury that Thompson played with throughout the second half of his final season at Georgetown this past year. It forced him to cancel roughly half of his 15 scheduled pre-draft workouts.
In addition to the Thunder's confidence in its core, the signing of Thabeet and Thompson to value deals also represents where the organization now is on its timeline.
The Thunder has never thrown money at prized free agents, but now the franchise simply can't. With Durant and Russell Westbrook playing on max contracts next season, the Thunder has a shortage of resources left available to retain James Harden, Serge Ibaka and Eric Maynor. All three are now eligible for contract extensions.
Collectively, Thompson, Thabeet and Jones will make roughly $4 million less than Mohammed, Fisher and Ivey combined to make last season. It's a strategy that, at the very least, gives Oklahoma City a chance to retain its most talented pieces.
“We've got to understand there's going to be some tough challenges ahead,” Presti said at his season-ending news conference, perhaps foreshadowing this day. “That's part of our process internally, understand the effect of that, not only on the team, but on the franchise. But what I can tell you is we're going to do everything we can to make it work. We're going to put everything toward it.
“It's also important to note, when you get into a situation with finances and pro sports, I can say here in Oklahoma City, if there's a piece of compensation that's not going to a specific person or player, that doesn't necessarily mean that's going into Mr. (Clay) Bennett's pocket. It's just going towards another player that ultimately can help us win. We've got to be able to build a team that can win year in and year out. And those are the challenges that have to be balanced. We love the group that we have and we're going to work tirelessly to make it work here.”