THUNDERNOTES: Burton, with new deal, will be with the big team the rest of the way

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Deonte Burton (30) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans center Jahlil Okafor, right rear, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

When Thunder fans tune into tonight’s game against Utah, there is one question they’ll not have to wonder about.

Barring injury, illness or some kind of unforeseen personal situation, Deonte Burton will be available, against the Jazz, the rest of the season and come the playoffs.

Under a two-way contract until Sunday that meant he could be shuttled between the Thunder and the organization’s G-League affiliate Oklahoma City Blue, Burton is now a full-fledged NBA player with a full-fledged NBA contract.

On Sunday, Oklahoma City announced it has signed the 6-foot-5 guard to a guaranteed deal.

Though terms were not disclosed, it means Burton’s at least making a pro-rated version of the NBA’s minimum rookie contract, which pays $838,464 when collected over an entire season.

The imminence of the signing was first reported by The Atheltic's Shams Charania, who, via Twitter, wrote Burton and OKC "have agreed to a multi-year deal."

Burton went undrafted following his 2016-17 senior season at Iowa State.

After playing in the Korean Basketball League last season, he signed his two-way deal with Oklahoma City last July 7.

In 23 games on the court with the Thunder this season, he's averaged 3.1 points, 1.0 rebounds and 8.7 minutes.

In 24 games with the Blue, he averaged 16.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 31.1 minutes.

• Technically speaking: OKC point guard Russell Westbrook leads the NBA in assessed technical fouls with 17, picking up his last one in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday night at Staples Center. However, his official count is 15, as two were previously rescinded by the NBA.

Had they not been rescinded, Westbrook would have already served a one-game suspension for picking up 16, which is the league rule. As it stands, he’ll be suspended in the game following his next technical foul, should he get one.

Should he earn that suspension, he would then face another suspension every time his count increased by two: at 18, 20, 22, etc.

Come the playoffs, the count starts over and a player is suspended after being assessed his seventh technical foul and again for his ninth, 11th, etc.

• Crying foul: In its last two games, Oklahoma City has committed 65 personal fouls, 34 against the Clippers and 31 against Portland. Those fouls yielded 93 free throws, 46 for L.A. and 47 to Portland.

The Thunder were awarded 58 free throws between the games, 26 against the Clippers and 32 against the Trail Blazers.

• George struggling: Paul George’s MVP candidacy may have been aided by the three games he missed with a sore right shoulder. In each, the Thunder struggled without him, only beating struggling Memphis.

Yet, George hasn’t aided his candidacy since returning, making only 31.2 percent (20 of 64) of his shots and 25 percent (8 of 32) of his 3-point attempts.

• Falling: When the Thunder meet the Jazz tonight, they’ll do it as the No. 4 team in the Western Conference after being in the third spot most of the season.

At 40-26, they trail Golden State by 5 1/2 games, Denver by 3 1/2 games and Houston by a half game. Though they own the tiebreaker with a sweep of the season series, they still share the fifth position with Portland, both 2 1/2 games in front of sixth-place Utah.

Game 67

Oklahoma City at Utah

Time: 8 p.m.

Place: Vivint Smart Home Arena

Records: Thunder 34-26, Jazz 37-28


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