August 2 was a landmark day in Oklahoma City Thunder history.
Just after the clock struck 11 p.m. CT, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski fired off a tweet that had likely been saved in his drafts for some time.
Two seasons after Russell Westbrook was dealt to Houston, and five years after the Oklahoma City Thunder lost the services of Kevin Durant in free agency, Sam Presti locked down the next Thunder star.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander signed the five-year extension to his rookie contract, keeping him on the books in OKC through the end of the 2027 season.
Does that guarantee that Gilgeous-Alexander will be a member of the Thunder that entire time? Of course not. It’s the modern NBA. A contract is just an agreement to pay a player, not a guarantee where that player will be playing.
But none of that matters for now.
The Thunder have locked down their next foundational piece, one who is on a clear All-Star trajectory.
Much has been made about the Thunder timeline, and sure the roster is in a bad spot for now, but Gilgeous-Alexander gives hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
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A year ago, Oklahoma City looked downright competitive to contend for a play-in game spot with a healthy Gilgeous-Alexander leading the charge. He took steps forward in both his defensive play and his ability to shoot the 3-ball, and Gilgeous-Alexander was the main reason why the Thunder were “too good to tank” through the first half of the season.
While Presti continues to take on bad contracts as a means to acquire draft picks and allows the young Thunder talent to develop, Gilgeous-Alexander could launch the rebuild into hyper-drive.
If he returns to the court and continues to improve, just as he has during every period of down time he’s had in Oklahoma City, Presti may be enticed to start spending assets sooner rather than later.
The five year timeline could be truncated after just three seasons because the Thunder have a bonafide star on their hands in Gilgeous-Alexander.
And now Oklahoma City will have plenty of time to get a competitive team back on the floor alongside their star guard.
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