OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder have made the Andre Roberson re-signing official, the team announced Friday.
"This is the place I always wanted to be, to continue to build a legacy for myself and the organization," Roberson told The Transcript.
Roberson and the Thunder agreed to the terms of a three-year, $30 million deal a week ago, but he wasn't able to come into Oklahoma City to sign the actual contract until Friday.
He turned down a four-year, $48 million extension offer the Thunder presented him in October, but that was just after the summer of 2016, when teams spent more money than ever before. Many upcoming free agents thought they'd have the chance to cash in the following offseason, especially if they turned in a career year, as Roberson did. But that hasn't been the case. With less cap room around the league this summer, organizations have been more frugal.
"I’m OK with it," Roberson said about taking slightly less annually than the extension would have paid him. "I live life with no regrets...$30 million is enough to set you up for the rest of your life if you take care of it."
Besides, he ended up getting what he wanted.
Agents will always poke around to find the best offers. They're not doing their jobs if they don't. And Roberson being a restricted free agent in a market that has mostly hurt uncontracted players of his kind hurt him as much as it would anyone else. But he's said over and over again, choice No. 1 was to return to Oklahoma.
He got that part accomplished.
"I always could have played the waiting game, but I didn’t want to do that," he said. "Oklahoma City is where I wanted to be. So, it was easy just to figure something out. They take care of me. I take care of them. That’s how it works, right?"
It's not just the environment. Roberson returns to a basketball situation that is an even better fit than it was when he last played a game — and that goes beyond sheer upgrades to the roster.
There is a reason, after all, that when he learned that the Thunder had traded for Paul George, something he discovered just while reading the ESPN bottom line at his parents' home in San Antonio, he got so "hyped" that he started doing pushups.
"Like, holy [expletive]," he joked. "It threw me off."
Roberson will slide back to shooting guard now after moving over to small forward this past year. Though he's one of the NBA's top perimeter stoppers against just about any style of guard or wing, the Thunder prefer him defending point guards and shooting guards. Coach Billy Donovan has consistently noted how his length disrupts smaller players.
Roberson and George, along with the San Antonio Spurs' connection of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, should become one of the league's best defensive combinations on the wing. George has made three All-Defensive Teams. Roberson made his first this past season.
"He loves to play defense just like I do," Roberson said. "So, hey, if I see that, all the better."
New Thunder signees Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton are defensive contributors, too.
"He’s scrappy. I like it," Roberson said of Felton. "He likes to get in there. He likes to get up in there. I like it."
The possibilities got Roberson so excited, he started detailing player after player who could get stops.
"There's Patterson, Steve [Adams] wrestling with guys inside," he listed.
It's a defensive-minded roster, something Roberson appreciates and to which he can certainly relate. He wants this team to be the league's stingiest.
"That’s one of the goals," he said. "That was the goal last year. It’s the goal this upcoming year."
• Presti's commentary: Thunder general manager Sam Presti also released an official statement, his first comments on Roberson since re-signing him.
“In addition to developing into one of the premier perimeter defenders in the NBA, Andre is the ultimate teammate, hustle player and selfless competitor,” Presti said. “Our fans know he will bring grit and maximum effort every time he puts on a Thunder uniform.
"Andre made it clear that Oklahoma City is the place he wanted to play, and this set the stage for us and his representation to come to an agreement early in the summer. We are thrilled that Dre will continue to be with us as we look to create our future.”