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Thunder lock up SGA with max rookie extension

Written by 
Published in Basketball
Tuesday, 03 August 2021 00:41

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has agreed to a five-year, $172 million maximum rookie contract extension, his agent, Thaddeus Foucher of Wasserman, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The deal includes a 30% escalator clause that would turn the guaranteed $172 million base into $207 million should Gilgeous-Alexander be voted to one of the three All-NBA teams. The deal doesn't include any early termination options.

Gilgeous-Alexander, 23, is a core part of the Thunder's rebuilding future as he develops into a possible All-Star-caliber point guard. Drafted 11th overall by the LA Clippers in 2018, he was acquired by Oklahoma City in the 2019 trade that moved Paul George to LA. He has steadily improved season by season, developing as a capable shooter and one of the best isolation scorers in the NBA. Already one of the premier attackers, he led the NBA in drives per game (25.2) last season.

With Chris Paul in Phoenix, Gilgeous-Alexander took the reins of the Thunder as their primary option and put together a breakout season. The 23-year-old guard averaged 23.7 points on 50.8% shooting from the floor, 41.8% from 3 and 80.8% from the free throw line, plus 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Gilgeous-Alexander's season was cut short in March because of a significant plantar fasciitis tear in his right foot. He played in only 35 games for the season, and his absence changed the course of the Thunder's season as they transitioned to playing younger players while angling for a higher draft pick. With Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder were 16-19 on the season; without, they were 6-31.

As the Thunder reposition the roster, Gilgeous-Alexander has become a centerpiece to the franchise's future. With young players, including 2021 No. 6 overall pick Josh Giddey and guard Lu Dort, and a war chest of draft picks, Gilgeous-Alexander is a versatile cornerstone for general manager Sam Presti as he retools the roster.

ESPN's Royce Young contributed to this report.

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