In a deal first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, restricted free agent Andre Roberson has agreed to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roberson has spent his entire four-year career with the Thunder organization, and will be locked-in further with a 3-year, $30 million contract.
Recently selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team, the 25-year-old SG/SF was the centerpiece of a Thunder defense that ranked 10th in the league in 2016-17. He’s developed into one of the best defenders in all of basketball, receiving three third-place votes for Defensive Player of the Year last season. His offensive inefficiencies are well-documented, but his his ability on the other end outweighs the offensive drawbacks. This may not have always been the case in recent history, but the addition of Paul George will allow Roberson to play to his strengths.
The arrival of George figures to push Roberson into his natural position of shooting guard, where he will presumably start alongside Russell Westbrook, George, Patrick Patterson and Steven Adams. His role will be very similar to what it was when Kevin Durant was in OKC, so there shouldn’t be any learning curve for the Thunder’s defensive ace. Along with George — a former All-Defensive First Teamer — Oklahoma City’s perimeter defense should be borderline impenetrable.
Roberson’s deal of 3-years, $30 million is a substantial step down from what he reportedly rejected during the 2016-17 season. The Thunder’s initial offer was rumored to be in the 4-years, $48 million range — which makes this another big win for GM Sam Presti.
More to come.