2018 NBA free agency grades: Thunder to re-sign Raymond Felton

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images /

The Oklahoma City Thunder have reached an agreement to re-sign Raymond Felton. He was an important piece for them off the bench this season and should continue to have success.

On Tuesday, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder have committed to bring back Raymond Felton for another season. The deal will be for one year and $2.4 million, the veteran minimum.

Felton played an important role off the bench for the Thunder this season. The 34 year-old NBA journeyman averaged 6.9 points, 2.5 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 3-pointers in 16.6 minutes per game. He provided much-needed energy off the bench and gave Russell Westbrook a break on the rare occasion that he needed it. He was a consistent contributor and didn’t miss a game all season.

Bringing Felton back makes a lot of sense for the Thunder. According to Wojnarowski, Felton is a “popular teammate and is considered a strong part of the team’s good chemistry.” He should continue to have success in his role as a competent reserve and a positive locker room presence.

Wojnarowski also reports a concerning bit of trivia regarding the Thunder: If they keep the same roster through next season, they will have to pay $150 million in tax. When you add this number to their payroll, you get a total of over $300 million.

This makes them the most expensive team in NBA history, at least in terms of total money owed. For a group that just bowed out of the playoffs in the first round, that’s pretty embarrassing.

A good fit

Payroll and tax concerns aside, the Thunder are going to get Felton back at a good price. He is an important facilitator for them when Westbrook is off the floor.

He will also go a long way in keeping the bench unit afloat. Oklahoma City ranked 29th in the league this season in bench scoring. With the agreement to re-sign first Jerami Grant and now Felton, the Thunder will be bringing back two of their better bench options.

Felton doesn’t put up 17 points and nine assists per game like he did back in 2010 with the New York Knicks, but he still certainly has his moments. He had 15 points off the bench against the Portland Trail Blazers this season, including some really impressive drives and fadeaway baskets:

Felton will do a lot for the Thunder on the court, but his value is also in his personality. Don’t just take my word for it though, see what Thunder head coach Billy Donovan had to say about him last season, according to Erik Horne of NewsOk:

"“I think the glue guy to that group has really been Raymond. I think having veteran leadership back there from him at least allows me to communicate, and then he’s so good at managing the game, that regardless of the personnel that’s out there he can do a really terrific job of getting everybody where they need to be.”"

Everybody loves Raymond. The veteran point guard will be back for another season with OKC, serving as an energizer off the bench and a strong locker room presence. It’s clear that the Thunder appreciate him, and they have shown that by bringing him back for another year.

Next: Ranking NBA teams by tiers for the 2017-18 season

Grade: A