8:10pm: Oklahoma City has announced the move is official via press release.
7:40pm: The Thunder have informed the Trail Blazers they have matched Portland’s $70MM offer sheet for restricted free agent Enes Kanter, reports Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (on Twitter). Enes’ deal includes a player option on the fourth year and a 15% trade kicker bonus, Wojnarowski reports in a full story.
The expectation around the league was that the Thunder would match, according to Royce Young of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deadline is today. The Blazers signed Kanter on Thursday to an offer sheet worth the max over four years, with a player option on year three. It was an easy decision to match, Wojnarowski tweets, because Oklahoma City offered Kanter about $62MM and always planned for the possibility of a max offer sheet.
Oklahoma City has about $79MM in salary commitments for this coming season. That puts them well above the $70MM cap, and the new deal for Kanter pushes the team far beyond the $84.74MM tax threshold. If they don’t make any other moves, the Thunder would have roughly a $24MM luxury-tax payment due at the end of next season, Young writes in a full story. The Thunder, according to Young, who cites league sources, are likely to shop forwards Steve Novak and Perry Jones III to help alleviate some of the pending financial hit.
Kanter, 23, excelled after Oklahoma City acquired him from the Jazz. He averaged 15.9 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game last season with the Thunder and Jazz. Thunder GM Sam Presti had expressed interest in re-signing the big man.
“We traded for Enes last season with the intention of keeping him as a member of the Thunder for several years to come, and we are excited that he will continue with us,” Presti said the press release. “He adds valuable depth to our roster, diversity to our frontcourt and the dimension that he brings offensively will positively impact our team.”