If the Oklahoma City Thunder want to keep restricted free agent Enes Kanter, it’s going to take a lot of creative work on their part.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Portland Trail Blazers have signed the veteran center to a max four-year, $70 million offer sheet.
OKC restricted free agent Enes Kanter signing a four-year, $70M maximum contract offer sheet with Blazers, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 9, 2015
Kanter, 23, was the third overall pick of the Utah Jazz back in the 2011 draft. After putting up a solid three-plus seasons in Utah, the 6-foot-11 big man was traded to the Thunder in February. He proceeded to average 18.7 points and 11.0 rebounds in 26 games with Oklahoma City.
With LaMarcus Aldridge now a member of the San Antonio Spurs, Portland had money to throw around to free agents this summer. After adding Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis on expensive deals over the past week, the Blazers are tripling down on the free agent market.
And in reality, this is an offer sheet that makes it incredibly hard for Oklahoma City to match. At an average of $17.5 million per season, and with a significant trade kicker, Portland knew full well what it was doing when agreeing to the deal with Kanter.
The issue with Oklahoma City potentially matching any offer is the fact that Kevin Durant is set to become a free agent next summer with Russell Westbrook hitting the open market the following season. Even with an expected increase in the cap, it’s going to be interesting to see whether the Thunder decide to dole out $17.5 million per season to the center.
The Thunder, who have three days to match, could very well decide to do just that. If so, the team would then have to likely cut salary elsewhere.
Photo: USA Today Sports