Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Thunder have not engaged in negotiations with Shane Battier’s representatives yet, as many expected. Well, as some fans hoped.
Many had expected the Oklahoma City Thunder to aggressively pursue Battier, but that hasn’t happened. Kevin Durant has publicly campaigned for Battier on Twitter in the offseason, but Thunder officials haven’t been engaged in the recruitment. With Battier in his advancing years, there are natural questions about his slippage as an elite perimeter defender, especially over a multiyear deal.
Instead, it’s the Miami Heat that are in hot pursuit (ha!) of Battier. Because of the likelihood they’ll amnesty Mike Miller, the Heat will be able to offer Battier the full mid-level exception (or something close to), which is more than what OKC could offer.
Right now, the Thunder have around $5 million in cap space, but that will change if Daequan Cook is re-signed. If Cook is retained, OKC would only have something like $2 million to spend.
I’ve said that Battier would be a nice fit, but ONLY if the Thunder were actually willing to be free agent players. But I don’t think they have plans to be, nor do I think they should be. Battier though would be a nice piece for a lot of reasons, but not necessarily someone to get crazy about.
Kevin Durant wants him. So does Nick Collison. But they aren’t the ones making that call. And if Sam Presti has decided his roster is fine without a 33-year-old wing that’s going to want $5 million a year, I think we’re going to just have to be fine with that.