2021 Free Agency

Reports: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander expected to sign maximum rookie extension

The Thunder's young guard averaged a career-high 23.7 points in only 35 games during the 2020-21 season.

From NBA.com News Services

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is expected to sign a five-year, $172 million maximum rookie contract expected with the Thunder.

The Thunder have reportedly agreed to a $172 million maximum rookie contract extension with guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports Gilgeous-Alexander is expected to sign a five-year deal to stay in Oklahoma City.

Gilgeous-Alexander was drafted by the Clippers in 2018 but has become a standout with the Thunder over the past two seasons.

He led Oklahoma City with 23.7 points and 5.9 assists per game and shot 51% from the field and 42% on 3-pointers in 2020-21. He missed the last two months of the season with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but said at season’s end he was feeling better.

Last season was a rough one for the Thunder, as it finished 22-50 — their worst finish since 2008-09, its first season after the move from Seattle.

It was a revolving door full of trades, G-League call-ups and late-season additions — which created quite a set of challenges for first-year coach Mark Daigneault. Chesapeake Energy Arena, known as one of the loudest venues in the league, did not allow fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti has brought in a handful of highly touted young players who have similar characteristics — long, good ball-handlers, capable shooters and international.

To a team that already includes Gilgeous-Alexander, Presti last year drafted 7-foot center Aleksej Pokesevski of Serbia and this week selected 6-foot-8 guard Josh Giddey of Australia with the No. 6 pick.

The 18-year-old Giddey was introduced Saturday along with Oklahoma City’s three other draftees — fellow first-rounder Tre Mann of Florida and second-rounders Jeremiah Robinson-Earl of Villanova and Aaron Wiggins of Maryland — in the lobby of the newly renamed Paycom Arena.

Rather than looking for a particular skill set, Presti said he simply seeks good players in an attempt to return the Thunder to playoff contention, after the franchise relied for more than a decade on superstars including (at times) Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.