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Thunder Insider: OKC proceeding with caution in free agency, contract negotiations

NBA's labor negotiations causing the Oklahoma City Thunder to be cautious in free agency. The Thunder could wait until the new collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon before they work out a contract extension with Jeff Green.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: July 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm •  Published: July 4, 2010

By now, it shouldn't come as a shock that the Oklahoma City Thunder opened this summer's free agency period without so much as a peep on the player-movement blotter. The franchise has quickly developed a reputation for being patient and methodical.

But this off-season is different. Patience has taken a backseat to proceeding with caution.

Unlike teams like Memphis, Minnesota and Milwaukee, which went on spending sprees the first second they could, the Thunder is choosing to sit back and see how things play out.

The most crucial component OKC is waiting to come into focus is the dubious details of a new collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and NBA Players Association. The Thunder, like every other team, has no clue what the new rules will bring. But the current deal is set to expire June 30, 2011, and it appears likely the new agreement will shrink the size of player contracts, team payrolls and perhaps even institute a hard salary cap.

It's one reason why — in addition to the Thunder being quiet in free agency — we haven't heard anything of substance on Jeff Green's contract extension this summer. OKC is expected to soon ink Kevin Durant to his extension because stars like him don't come around very often. And when you have one, you lock him up at the first chance you get.

But with Green, the Thunder can and likely will wait until the new CBA is agreed upon so that it can extend his contract under the new, more favorable set of rules. So don't be alarmed if Durant's deal gets done and Green's extension drags out. The Thunder has until Oct. 31 to come to an agreement with Green. And even if the two sides don't reach a middle ground, Green still will be under contract next season and becomes a restricted free agent next summer. OKC could then match whatever offer Green receives and retain his services.

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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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