Oklahoma City also needs to show financial restraint now in order to be able to ink Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka to long-term deals. Westbrook is eligible for an extension when the lockout is lifted, though a deal wouldn't kick in until the 2012-13 season, while Harden and Ibaka are eligible for extensions next summer.
The Thunder, meanwhile, already has a defensive stopper in Thabo Sefolosha under a budget-friendly contract that will pay him a relatively cheap $10.8 million over the next three seasons. Battier, who has hit 38.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc, is a much better perimeter shooter than Sefolosha, a career 30.4 percent shooter. But Sefolosha is six years younger and still could grow into a more dominant defender and more accurate shooter.
There is no doubt, however, that Battier could be a nice fit with the Thunder, a franchise that is creeping closer to a championship and potentially could entice Battier to sacrifice money and playing time to play for a winner.
“I have no idea where I can end up,” Battier was quoted as saying last week in a Q&A with USA Today. “It's going to be chaos trying to go through the free agency period, and I'll have to make a life decision (quickly).
“Memphis may be the best place to return if teams are able to maintain (Larry) Bird rights. I'm hoping to get a three-, four-year deal. For what I can do, I can do for that period of time. I want to be in a happy place. I want to go to work and enjoy it. When you go to work and you have a chance to win every night, your job is way better. That's for any profession, but you want to have a role and be able to contribute to winning.”