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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
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/articleid/3473651/1/pictures/1016013">Photo - Thunder forward Jeff Green, right, may have his contract negotiations put on hold until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Thunder forward Jeff Green, right, may have his contract negotiations put on hold until after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN

With so much uncertainty surrounding the new CBA, we could see Durant become the only player from the 2007 draft class to be given an extension this summer. It would continue the latest trend seen by NBA teams. An all-time low of five players from the 2006 draft class received extensions before their fourth seasons. And the 2005 draft class saw just seven players sign extensions.

In Oklahoma City, that approach would just be another level of armor the Thunder has used to protect itself against whatever the CBA brings. OKC will have 10 players on rookie scale contracts next season, or relatively cost-efficient contracts that will make the Thunder immune to a falling salary cap. The Thunder still will have eight players on rookie deals in 2011-12 when the rules will change.

But the payroll of teams like the Wolves, Grizzlies and Bucks, who recently all gave lucrative deals to average players, could soon be saddled because of senseless moves they made now. A $5 million per year contract could have more of an $8 million feel under the new agreement.

That's what the Thunder is looking to avoid and why OKC is proceeding with caution.

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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