Fourth-year shooting guard Dion Waiters and the Oklahoma City Thunder are “actively exploring” an extension, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. The two parties have until Nov. 2 to come to an agreement, otherwise Waiters will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Waiters, 23, came over to the Thunder from the Cleveland Cavaliers last season in a three-team trade that also included J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. The deal was a boon for Cleveland, as the collective play of Smith and Shumpert was a major upgrade over Waiters.
Waiters wasn’t particularly good in Oklahoma City last season, averaging 12.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting just 39.2 percent overall and 31.9 percent from long range in 30.3 minutes per game. The Thunder were better with him on the court than they were with him off, although both Andre Roberson and Anthony Morrow had better net ratings, according to NBA.com.
Waiters is said to be “enthusiastic” about trying to get a new deal done, but the Thunder should be careful in this situation. If Oklahoma City can get Waiters at a really cheap price, then an extension isn’t a bad idea.
However, Waiters doesn’t have much of a reason to take a cheap deal with the cap exploding next summer. So if he’s looking for a somewhat lucrative extension, the Thunder should pass on that and make him earn it on the court this season.