While they are already up against the salary cap and would have to go in to the luxury tax, the Oklahoma City Thunder have no choice but to match Portland’s 4 year $70 million offer for Enes Kanter.
The 4 year vet averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder in 26 games after being traded from the Jazz last season. While these are good numbers, they may not warrant a max contract as Kanter did most of his scoring on plays set up by Russell Westbrook. It really doesn’t matter if he’s worth it or not though. OKC has to be as good as they can this year with Kevin Durant being a free agent next summer. If OKC doesn’t show they can contend with the top of the Western Conference (Clippers, Spurs, Warriors) this season, Durant will bolt for a team he can contend with and the Thunder will be left with a possible rebuilding project.
With Kanter in the mix next season, the Thunder can play him alongside Serge Ibaka, who is defensively minded and can make up for Kanter’s weak defense. With that front-court and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook leading the team, the Thunder will be a top contender in the west next season. Without it, they may be looking up at the top of the west, and saying goodbye to Kevin Durant next offseason. This is a big move for the Thunder in the long run, and they must pull the trigger even if it will cost them money now.