UPDATE: Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Perkins’ extension is for four years, $34.8 million. That’s $8.75 million per year.
So much for that “he doesn’t really want to be here” stuff.
The Thunder announced that Kendrick Perkins has signed a multi-year extension. Terms were not disclosed, though those will come out soon enough.
“We had a unique opportunity to enter into discussions with Kendrick to solidify his future with our organization,” said Sam Presti in a press release. “We are pleased to know that he will be a part of our core group now and in the future. Kendrick’s blue-collar, team-first approach aligns with the vision we hold for building a sustainable team in the Oklahoma City community.”
Perkins (6-10, 280) owns career averages of 6.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 assist and 22.3 minutes in 454 NBA games. He has appeared in 12 games (7 starts) this season with the Celtics before being traded to the Thunder on February 24th, averaging 7.3 points and 8.1 rebounds in 26.1 minutes. The center has appeared in 68 career postseason games, averaging 6.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 25.7 minutes.
Perkins, originally selected in the 2003 NBA draft (27th overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies and then traded to Boston on draft night, was a Parade and McDonald’s All-America at Ozen High School in Beaumont, TX. He helped lead Ozen to a 96-3 record during his final three seasons, averaging 27.5 points, 16.4 rebounds and 7.8 blocks as a senior.
So why now? Why did Presti ink Perkins so quickly? It’s a bit complicated.
When Oklahoma City signed Nick Collison to that weird, completely front-loaded extension before the season that included a $6.5 million signing bonus (that counted against the cap), the Thunder put themselves right at the cap line. OKC was only below by almost cents. But after the two deadline trades, the Thunder quietly opened up a little over $2 million in cap space.
Perkins already had turned down a four-year, $22 million from the Celtics, feeling it was too low. Boston couldn’t offer more though because that was the maximum amount they could offer Perkins under the current CBA rules. The only reason Boston could offer Perkins a deal in the first place was because they had Bird Rights on him.
But because the Thunder wiggled themselves under the cap at the deadline by just a measly $2 million, OKC could offer more than the Celtics. There are two stipulations in which you can renegotiate an extension: If it’s more money than the player’s currently making, and if the team has cap room.
Again, remember that creative move Presti pulled with Collison’s contract that put him making over $13 million this year? They had the opportunity to pull something similar with Perkins. With the new cap space, OKC could renegotiate Perkins’ $4.6 million salary to as a much as $6.7 million. Following that, the Thunder could offer a new four-year extension worth about $34 million. (Or less, I suppose, but I find that unlikely.) That’s about $9 million per year, compared to the $6 million per Boston could offer.
And guess what? The deadline to make such a deal was today. So basically once Perkins’ feet hit the red dirt of Oklahoma, Presti was working on an extension with him. The $35 million is probably more than Perkins’ was going to find in the open market this summer, especially with the uncertainty of the new CBA. But that’s not a massive price tag for the Thunder to pay to their starting center for the next five years. It’s probably exactly what OKC was willing to shell out. Less than what Jeff Green likely wanted and it fits a player the Thunder needs.
Another victory for Presti as he wiggled his way around the system to give Perkins a deal he couldn’t refuse. Obviously Perkins wants to be here and obviously he’s healthy. There are some mild concerns about the health of his knees, but the ever-cautious Presti wouldn’t have done this if he didn’t believe Perkins was going to be good for the next four or five seasons.
Now Oklahoma City has that long-term defensive big man in the middle, didn’t break the bank to get him and will have enough money to work on Russell Westbrook over the summer. Score another one for the Thunder.