Don’t ever say that the Oklahoma City Thunder ownership group is cheap. Once free agency started around the NBA late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (depending on where you live), George agreed to a four-year, $137 million max contract to remain with the Thunder.
In a vacuum, this is an expensive deal for a Thunder squad that took a chance by acquiring George in a contract year. Most figured that he would ultimately return home to Los Angeles and sign with the Lakers. That did not happen.
From Oklahoma City’s perspective, this was quite a coup. It was also one expensive proposition. By virtue of the franchise being multi-time offenders of the NBA’s luxury tax, they’re now going to be paying an NBA record tax this coming season. How much? Nearly as much as their payroll.
With Paul George and Jerami Grant on board, Oklahoma City now has a payroll of $156M with 11 players under contract. Because of the repeater tax penalty, the Thunder currently have a tax bill of $130M. The tax bill would be the largest in NBA history.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 1, 2018
That’s nearly a $300 million investment for next season.
The hope here is that Oklahoma City is able to somehow overcome last season’s struggles. The team was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by a lesser Utah Jazz squad.
At the very least, we can’t say that the Thunder’ ownership group isn’t trying.