12:53pm: Waiters took to Twitter to deny the report. More on that here.
10:15am: Dion Waiters, who is a Philadelphia native, wants to play for the Sixers next season, a source tells Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “He wants to come home,” the source told Pompey. “Plus, he knows that he could be the missing shooting guard [they] need. And he could possibility get a max contract with the Sixers.”
The Thunder were open to an extension over the summer, but only if he would concede to a discount. Waiters turned down a team-friendly deal with the team and the sides agreed to table contract talks until July. Waiters’ camp hopes that the rise in the salary cap improves the market for the shooting guard, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reported earlier this month.
Despite not reaching an extension, Thunder GM Sam Presti indicated that mutual interest in a long-term deal exists. “Dion has made it clear that he feels he has found a basketball home in Oklahoma City and is committed to being a part of the culture that exists, and the team sees him as someone who has his best basketball in front of him and has the potential to be a contributor for years to come with more time to develop in our program,” Presti said in a statement to the media after the extension deadline passed without a deal.
Waiters is gambling on having a strong season, as Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors speculated could be the case in his extension candidate piece. The guard is having a solid season thus far, averaging 11.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 26.1 minutes per game. He is also shooting 50% from 3-point range, albeit on only 22 attempts.
Waiters will be a restricted free agent after the season, meaning the Thunder can match any offer sheet that the guard receives. A contract approaching the max might be a stretch for Waiters, but if the Landmark Sports Agency client receives that type of offer sheet, the Thunder should pass on matching, although that’s just my speculation.