The Oklahoma City Thunder are a team that I trash talk often. It’s a team that has lost in the first round in back to back seasons after Kevin Durant left. The Thunder started the offseason by re-signing the franchise’s version of Robin in the form of Paul George. OKC apparently isn’t done and have officially added the 12th man on their roster, Nerlens Noel. The former 76ers and Mavericks center signed a minimum deal with the Thunder that includes a player option in year-two.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports was the first to report the news:
Sources: Nerlens Noel will sign a two-year deal with Oklahoma City, including a player option in Year 2. https://t.co/b4UQeBEDUU
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2018
Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post had the details:
“Not sure if this is out there yet, but can confirm Nerlens Noel is signing with the Thunder on a minimum deal. Giving him a player option will cause the Thunder to have to spend more this year, though (the option means it doesn’t fall under the minimum exception).”
Noel, 24, turned down a pretty massive contract extension with the Mavericks worth about $70 million two years ago. The Oklahoma City tax bill is becoming large. It’s on pace to be the first $300 million team in NBA history. Even though Noel will be cheap, because the Thunder are in the repeater tax, it’s going to cost them an extra $10 million or so.
This deal makes sense for Noel. He gets to hit the market again after one season with a chance to rebuild his value. With Westbrook missing a bunch of baskets at the rim, maybe Noel can do some cleanup work to clean up his reputation.