NBA analyst Zach Lowe has provided some food for thought for Oklahoma City Thunder fans.
In a tweet, Lowe suggests that if Kevin Durant (who just completed the final year of his five year US$89M deal) and Russell Westbrook (whose five year US$78M deal will end after next season) re-sign with the Thunder long term, the team may only be able to keep two of four other core players, including Steven Adams.
Have written before, if KD/Russ come back long-term, might only be to keep two of Ibaka/Adams/Kanter/Waiters. https://t.co/r9IhzDTdM1— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) 31 May 2016
In an ambiguous follow up tweet, Lowe suggests that there is already a clear cut two that the Thunder should choose.
(Two of those four players are much better than the other two).— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) 31 May 2016
Following a string of outstanding playoffs performances, experts have predicted that Adams' value has increased to the point where he could be looking at a max contract the next time he signs a deal.
Adams is under contract with the Thunder for next season, and after that he will become a restricted free agent where he can go on the market and find a new deal.
An alternative would be Adams and the Thunder agreeing on an extension between the end of the season and November.
Lowe's tweet is in response to CBS Sports basketball writer Matt Moore. Moore's tweet put the Thunder's upcoming contractual obligations in perspective:
Next summer the Thunder will (likely) have to pay Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Adams, on top of Kanter's and, possibly, Waiters' deals.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) 31 May 2016
Thunder guard Dion Waiters will become a restricted free agent during this year's offseason, while team mate Serge Ibaka will go on the market with Westbrook after next season. Enes Kanter is under contract with the Thunder until 2019.