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Thunder notebook: Reports vary on Derek Fisher's contract

HoopsWorld says Thunder newcomer will make $395,417 after signing as an unrestricted free agent.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: March 26, 2012

According to HoopsWorld, Derek Fisher will make $395,417 from the Thunder after signing as an unrestricted free agent last Wednesday.

However, during OKC's 103-87 victory at home against the Miami Heat on Sunday night, ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted: “Tidbit to enhance your Heat-OKC viewing: Sources briefed on deal say Derek Fisher's rest-of-season contract with Thunder is for $2.3 million.”

As policy, the Thunder does not discuss contract terms, but the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

A two year pro-rated minimum deal for a veteran player such as Fisher would be in the neighborhood of $2 million, with the majority of the contract coming in the second season.

After opting out of his $3.4 million contract next season, Fisher likely was looking for some form of guarantee to justify declining his option year. Teams competing for players who have been bought out often do so with minimum contracts. In order to make up a portion of the player option salary, Fisher likely was seeking a multi-year deal.

Because the Thunder wants to maintain future payroll flexibility for pending player extensions to James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor, at al, and because their current payroll remains well below the luxury tax, OKC might have looked to front load Fisher's deal, using a portion of their mid-level exception that was available. This would also have allowed the Thunder to trump offers from competing teams that were limited by using only the minimum player exception.

The Thunder had roughly $4 million available from its mid-level exception at its disposal.

THINKING THUNDER

When the NBA lockout was going on during the offseason, unrestricted free agent Shane Battier admitted OKC was on his radar.

“Oh, yeah,” Battier said after Sunday's shoot-around session with the Miami Heat. “This was a very intriguing possibility for me. It really was.”

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