Thunder lock in franchise star with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander extension

Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have secured star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to a long-term contract extension on Monday night.

The 2021 NBA free agency negotiation window officially opened up at 6:00 p.m. ET on Monday, and the agreements have been non-stop. Free agents were not the only ones to secure long-term contracts with their teams. There were some younger players on their rookie contracts who secured a long-term contract extension, such as guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Gilgeous-Alexander have agreed to terms on a maximum rookie contract extension worth $172 million over five years.

Thunder signs Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to maximum rookie contract extension

Gilgeous-Alexander was entering the final year of his rookie contract, where he would have been eligible for a $7.5 million qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent for the 2022-23 season, according to Spotrac. Yet, he was eligible for the maximum rookie contract extension this summer. Unsurprisingly, both parties agreed to terms.

The former Kentucky Wildcats guard was initially a 2018 first-round selection by the Charlotte Hornets, but was later traded to the LA Clippers. After his rookie season, Gilgeous-Alexander was flipped to the Thunder in the massive trade that sent Paul George to the Clippers. As it turns out, the deal worked out for both teams.

In his first season with the Thunder, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game through 70 regular-season games. The young guard only played in 35 games this past season after being shut down with a plantar fasciitis tear in his right foot. Through that span of games, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 23.7 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds a night while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from 3-point range.

If you needed further proof that Gilgeous-Alexander was part of the Thunder’s long-term plans, this contract solidifies it.

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