Thunder notebook: Guard Daequan Cook agrees to two-year extension

Cook did not attend the start of practice Friday while waiting for the deal to be finalized but could join the team as early as Saturday.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY AND JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writers Modified: December 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm •  Published: December 9, 2011
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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.”

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