JULY 23rd, 2:19pm: Abrines has signed a multi-year contract, according to the team’s website.
JULY 18th, 9:37am: Since losing Kevin Durant to the Warriors, the Thunder have been fairly quiet, opting not to make a splash in free agency. According to multiple reports, however, it appears Oklahoma City will use some of the spending flexibility created by Durant’s departure to bring over draft-and-stash prospect Alex Abrines.
According to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops, Abrines and the Thunder have agreed to a deal that will pay the Spanish forward nearly $18MM over three years. Chema de Lucas (via Twitter) pegs the value at $17MM over three years. The Thunder will be able to pay up to $650K of Abrines’ buyout from Barcelona, which is believed to be in the range of $2.2MM — he’ll have to cover the rest of that buyout himself.
Abrines, who turns 23 next month, was drafted 32nd overall in 2013 using one of the picks the Thunder acquired from Houston in the James Harden trade. He averaged 9.3 PPG and shot 41.7% from three-point range in 25 Euroleague games this past season.
As Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman details, a source had told him earlier this summer that Abrines was unlikely to make the jump to the NBA for the 2016/17 campaign, but with Durant gone and Dion Waiters‘ restricted free agency still up in the air, it makes some sense for Oklahoma City to bring him over now.
Although the Thunder only have about $72MM committed to player salaries for next season prior to Abrines’ deal, Waiters’ cap hold is worth nearly $13MM, and there are other cap holds on the books for first-rounder Domantas Sabonis and some former OKC players. Throw in a trade exception and the team’s mid-level exception and the total increases to more than $94MM, so there’s a chance the Thunder could remain an over-the-cap team this year rather than using cap room.
As such, it makes sense that Abrines’ three-year deal is reported to be worth nearly $18MM — if Oklahoma City signs him using its full mid-level exception, he would earn $17,643,780 over three years. If the Thunder end up losing Waiters or going under the cap for another reason, they could sign Abrines to a similar deal using cap room.