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Western Extension Notes: Waiters, Ezeli, Leonard

Thunder GM Sam Presti cited the rising salary cap and “the potential for further changes to the cap system itself as a whole prior to the summer” as reasons why he, Dion Waiters and Waiters’ representatives agreed to table contract talks until July, notes Royce Young of Still, mutual interest exists, Presti insists.

“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 the statement he issued to media.

The deal that Waiters, a Landmark Sports Agency client, passed up from the Thunder was team-friendly, and his camp hopes the projected surge in the salary cap bears an improved market for him, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. See more on the aftermath of Monday’s extension deadline around the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors and Festus Ezeli were close to a deal on an extension, but his agent talked him out of signing what some called a team-friendly deal, sources tell Kyler for the same piece. Ezeli is a client of agent Bill Duffy.
  • Meyers Leonard declined a “considerable” offer from the Trail Blazers when he and the team failed to reach an agreement before Monday’s extension deadline, a source tells Jason Quick of Still, Leonard, who said he’s betting on himself, would prefer to re-sign with the team in restricted free agency next summer, as Casey Holdahl of relays. “I like Portland a lot, I love this team, I love the city,” Leonard said in part. “So hopefully after this year we’ll get something done, because I truly believe that we have a good core group of guys. I came in with Damian [Lillard], CJ [McCollum] is just a year behind us, all the other guys that [president of basketball operations] Neil [Olshey] has brought in. I feel like we’re just going to keep going up, and that’s a good thing.”
  • Five of the seven players who signed rookie scale extensions this year were in the Eastern Conference, but the two most lucrative deals of the bunch went to Western Conference representatives, as our extensions recap shows.

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