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Sam Presti says Thunder not considering amnestying Kendrick Perkins

Jun 7, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Three Getty Images

Kendrick Perkins has guided Kevin Durant* and mentored Steven Adams – the Oklahoma City Thunder’s best and arguably most-pivotal players, respectively.

*Durant during his MVP-acceptance speech on Perkins: “I hated you before you got here. But the moment you got here, man, you just changed my whole perception of you. Just one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. I thank you so much. The late-night calls after tough games, you texting me telling me I’m MVP – that meant a lot to me. Thank you.”

Perkins is also due $9,404,342 next season, the final year of his contract.

His on-court production no longer warrants that salary, but he also has a strong locker-room presence. The Thunder must balance those competing forces when facing the annual question:

Will Oklahoma City amnesty Perkins?

Thunder general manager Sam Presti, via Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman:

“I knew I’d get that question,” Presti said. “I wish I had something clever to say there, but I don’t. We’ll look at everything, as we always do. But as we’ve said before, it’s not something that’s been considered to this point.”

Well, that just can’t be true. Not even considering amnestying Perkins would be stupid, and Presti isn’t stupid. But if he doesn’t plan to amnesty Perkins, why dwell on the internal discussions about that decision?

Beyond Perkins’ value as a veteran leader, amnestying him wouldn’t accomplish much.

Amnestying Perkins would put the Thunder slightly below the projected salary cap, but they’d still have just the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,305,000) to spend on a free agent.

If the Perkins don’t amnesty Perkins, they could still spend the full mid-level exception without crossing into the luxury tax – though adding the bi-annual exception ($2,077,000) would put them over the line. So, there’s the slightest incentive to amnesty Perkins if Oklahoma City can use the bi-annual to replace him with a better player, which is not a given and would cost quite a bit of real dollars.

Plus, Perkins’ large expiring contract could prove useful in a trade. Those types of deals can always grease the wheels when non-matching salaries are involved.

In the meantime, Oklahoma City will be keeping a well-liked player who still has some value – even if it’s not as much as his paycheck.

  1. trevormcnamara - Jun 7, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    “If the Perkins don’t amnesty Perkins”
    Made me laugh so hard

  2. sportsfan18 - Jun 7, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Presti has ridden this horse so far…

    Guess he’s gonna see it to the finish line…

  3. 00maltliquor - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Sam Presti was looking like The Man a few years back. The last 2, not so much.

    • antistratfordian - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:26 PM

      If Presti had the first pick in 2007 who do you think he would’ve selected?

      • asimonetti88 - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:58 PM

        Kendrick Perkins

    • patfic5 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      Amazing what a few hits of luck brings you. He and Brooks don’t look so “new era” any longer. It’s going to be a shame if they waste this window.

  4. cantonb0und13 - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    Only reason why their keeping Perkins is because he’s close with his teammates, especially Durant. But that doesn’t mean the Thunder shouldn’t amnesty Perkins; this is something the Thunder should have done last summer. If they keep him, then expect the same results (no championships).

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:42 PM


      You know better…

      Had Presti amnestied him and they didn’t win and the team didn’t get along as well, then he would have been blamed…

      Where’s my proof? Look at the Pacers. Bird KNEW Granger was gone after the season so he tried something.

      Sometimes things don’t work out. You take the last second shot and miss. Swing and miss and strike out or ground out.

      But, Bird TRIED to do something and it didn’t work.

      If they amnesty him now and they don’t win, he will be blamed by a part of the fans for disrupting the team chemistry…

      But, if he keeps him and they don’t win, then those same folks who said he ruined the team chemistry will say he’s supposed to be above that and know and do what’s best for the team.

      They’ll say that’s why there is a G.M. so THEY can make those decisions so a Durant doesn’t have to.

      What does it all mean? Just gotta win. Winning cures everything.

      Whether they amnesty him or not means nothing if they don’t win.

      Win, and he pressed the right buttons.

      When teams don’t win it all, the fans were always right…

      When teams win it all, management was right in the decisions they made and decided not to make…

    • spursareold - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Should have done it TWO years ago, and kept Harden. That’s not Presti’s fault, though. Their ownership is hella cheapskate.

  5. seattlesuperchronic - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:53 PM

    It’s only one more year, if they were going to do it they would’ve already, right?

    • moseskkim - Jun 7, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      Exactly it seems a bit too late to do it now.. Now it’s up to brooks to really develop Adams as the new center and limit Perkins minutes

  6. rrhoe - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    I agree with Presti,why amnesty a player when you have to pay them anyway. Look no further than the Magic still paying Gilbert Arenas,I think. An expiring contract at the trade deadline could be very useful.

    • 5xchamp24 - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:02 AM

      Yes they still have to pay the player but the amnesty rule is so the players salary wont count against the salary cap. Also Perkins is an expiring contract also. No one trades an expiring contract for another expiring contract. You need to read up more on the NBA

      • rrhoe - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:32 AM

        Duh,I know all that,my point was to hold onto him,at the trade deadline maybe he could be used in a multiple team trade for maybe a draft pick,smart azz.

      • tcrudisi - Jun 8, 2014 at 3:43 AM

        “No one trades an expiring contract for another expiring contract.” — See Rich Cho of the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets. Traded an expiring Hakin Warrick for an expiring Josh McRoberts. Basically, he traded a guy that couldn’t get off the bench for a guy who became a starter. Not bad.

  7. eugenesaxe1 - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    Keep him if it makes the locker room happy, but start Adams.

  8. yesser12 - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Perkins contract sucks but he is a good guy for the team. The players constantly talk about him helping. I just hope they don’t start him he can play 15min against teams like Hou, Indy, SAS, Mem, LAC, teams with bigs that he can body with.

    It is only one year left why amnesty and get nothing. Try trading him since he is expiring or let him go in FA next season if they don’t try to sign him for cheap.

  9. sportsnut101 - Jun 7, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Why waive him u need him to body zach, gasol, aldridge duncan u may be able to trade him but prolly have to take on extra yr of a bad deal in return
    Okc will exit in 2nd rd next yr unless they add a better bench

  10. enigma2742 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:14 PM


    • paleihe - Jun 8, 2014 at 1:39 AM


  11. duhwighthoward - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    He pretty much handled DeAndre Jordan in the Clippers series. (for what it’s worth; i don’t know how much that actually means)

  12. campcouch - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    Boston sent him away and the Boston Big Three faded away. Perkins is like Juwan Howard…for some reason the team and teammates love him. He could DNP and wear a suit for 3 years and nobody would mind. If KD likes him so much,might be best to hang on to him for the next year and re-sign him at a bargain.

  13. John X - Jun 8, 2014 at 12:30 AM

    No matter what he makes tomorrow he did play himself into this situation. Any thought dismissing his importance based upon on the stat line alone dismiss the whole team philosophy. More reasons o keep him than amnesty Perkins for no sane reason.

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