This date could determine the future of this franchise more than any day before it (except for maybe Draft Day 2007, it’ll depend really) and after it. Why? Because this is the day where the rubber hits the road, the money is put where your mouth is, and every other cliched saying that is used when it’s time to just lay it all out on the line.
Or to put it more clearly, this is the first day that Kevin Durant can be extended, Jeff Green can be extended (cue all of the commenters revving up to chime in) and ALSO the day that free agents can officially begin contract negotiations with prospective teams.
So in a word, this is a HUGE day.
But how might this day affect the entire future of the franchise for the foreseeable future? Well, it really comes down to another cliche, brass tacks…
If I were Sam Presti—in fact, Mr. Presti, if you’re reading this and you’d like me to do this for you so you don’t have to, I’m on board—I would pretty much pull a Morey and be waiting at Durant’s front door at 12:01 am with a shiny briefcase of cold, hard cash in one hand and a contract and pen held up in the other.
You got to lock that down, ladies and gents. You offer him the max amount of money you can for the max amount of years, toss in some Krispy Kreme doughnuts and an ice cold…Dr. Pepper…and you call it a deal after KD’s mom looks over the paperwork and lets him sign, of course.
I don’t want to hear about the “new CBA” coming out that might save you money if you want until next summer. There might not even be NBA games after next summer for a good little while! And when you have a player of Durant’s caliber, and maybe more importantly a personof Durant’s caliber, you don’t mess around with hypotheticals and the unknown because of what “might” be possible while at the same time showing a serious wavering commitment to your superstar and the leader/co-captain of your team, especially when other franchise pastures will undoubtedly just be waiting for the slightest sliver of space to open up so they can slip in and try to pry Durant away to brighter lights and bigger cities.
Did I mention he’s the face of this franchise and the future of the NBA?
Lock. That. Down.
So now that that’s done, there’s a fella by the name of Jeff Green to talk to. I’m going to keep this pretty short since I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be quite literally forced to discuss this at length in the comments section for the next, oh, two and a half months (if not this post, than every single one following it), about if the Thunder should extend Green and if so, for how much, what’s he really worth, but he’s not a PF, etc, etc.
The answer is pretty simple to me: Green’s value is not that hard to gauge when it comes to on the court production—-OR off the court leadership, camaraderie and intangibles as a glue guy and blue collar teammate that gives everything to the team and cares very little for personal glory.
What’s that figure at to me? Oh, about $7-8 million a year, to be honest. If Etan Thomas can get almost $8 million to practice like a champion and support the team from the bench for a season (and yes, I’m aware that Etan’s contract and production don’t exactly mix, that’s kind of my point) and if Nick Collison can post 5.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and .6 blocks (and force 400,000 charges) a year and be worth $6.25 million, then the co-captain and glue-guy of the squad who posts 15.1 points, 6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.27 steals, .88 blocks and shoots 45.3% from the field and 74% from the free throw line is unquestionably worth $7-8 million dollars to this team.
“But what if he gets moved to the bench as a Sixth Man?”
So? Have you seen what Sixth Man (Men?) make in the NBA if they can contribute anything significantly? Especially if they are as versatile and selfless as Green? For crying out loud Jason Terry makes over $9 million a year as a sixth man and have you had a look at his shooting% and statistics in comparison to Green? You’re not telling me Green isn’t as much a part of this Thunder’s heartbeat as Terry is to the Mavericks or Odom is to the Lakers as Sixth Men (I’m going with Men).
And please recognize the emphasis on the the THIS team specification. Would it be the case for every team, absolutely not. But for this team, this group of guys (especially Durant, Westbrook and Harden), Green might as well be their brother in arms and, well, Uncle.
Now let the commenting and arguing begin in…
…Wait! I almost forgot about the free agent class of this year! The reason this day is so huge is also more about what it will start instead of just what will actually take place on the day itself. If the Thunder extend Durant and Green AND go after a significant free agent this off-season, it either means that the ownership group is willing to pay some luxury tax and really spend for this franchise—-or it means that one of the core members is probably not staying with the team once their extension/rookie contract runs out.
Yep. It’s that serious of a sign and that big of a day. Of course if they front loaded a contract over the next two years they still might be able to preserve some cap space to not go crazy over the cap, but any free agent who will command more than $11-12 million is going to make keeping all of these players together very hard if the ownership isn’t willing to pay to keep them.
That’s why July 1st, 2010, could literally change this organization for the next 10-15 years. You know, nothing major.
…okay, now you can start the arguing over Green.