Luguentz Dort and the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to the terms of a four-year, $5.4 million deal on Wednesday.
Dort had previously been playing on a two-way agreement during the pre-pandemic portion of the season.
Dort began the season in the G-League with the Blue before eventually being called up and slowly working his way to the starting lineup by starting in 21 of his 29 NBA games.
Dort became a UDFA steal for the Thunder as they gained a valuable starter who is a physically big and competent defender that is willing to attack the basket and shoot from the outside despite limitations.
The contract is a massive win for the Thunder as they add a young and improving player on a cheap, long-term deal.
If Dort continues to grow or even stays at the same level as a player that he currently is, then the contract becomes a huge steal.
If Dort regresses because of his lack of shooting, then the deal is relatively easy to get out of and to cut ties with.
Dort signing for below market value is a bit of a surprise as he could’ve taken the approach of playing out the season with the Thunder and test RFA in the offseason, creating a bit of leverage in doing so.
But instead, Dort takes the guaranteed money, and the fact that the future of the NBA’s financial health is so cloudy it probably played a significant role in that decision.
This contract increases the Thunder’s luxury tax bill from $2 million to $2.4 million. The Thunder are also now allowed to sign a new Two-Way player before Saturday’s deadline.
The Thunder was always going to eventually sign Dort to a full-time NBA contract because they needed to qualify for the playoffs before the season suspension.
It’s just that they were going to wait until the final minute to avoid adding more money to their already massive team payroll of $133.8 million, which is third in the entire league.
But because of the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19, the NBA announced that the league would’ve allowed for two-way players to become playoff eligible in Orlando.
So the pressure of a deadline vanished, and the Thunder and Dort could’ve taken a “wait-and-see” approach to their contract talks.
But instead, both sides agreed to a deal that will keep the former 4-star high school recruit in Oklahoma City for this season and the next three seasons.