Posted on 12 July 2012
According to reports, former No. 2 overall draft pick Hasheem Thabeet has agreed to a fully-guaranteed two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 7’3” center can officially sign his new deal on July 11, when the league’s moratorium ends. The terms were not disclosed, but it is suspected he will receive a minimal salary, or approximately $880,000 the first contract year.
It’s no secret Thunder’s executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti invested significant time in scouting Thabeet prior to the 2009 draft. Many believed he would have been taken by the Thunder with their third pick (that ultimately went to James Harden) had the Memphis Grizzlies not nabbed him with their second pick.
Thabeet’s successful three-year run at the University of Connecticut (10.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, .611 field-goal percentage in 28.3 minutes) has not yet translated to the NBA. He is a two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year. In the 2008-09 season, he was co-named Big East Player of the Year with DeJuan Blair.
The Thunder will be the fourth NBA team for Thabeet during his three-year professional stint. In 135 games with Memphis, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, Thabeet has averaged 2.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 10.3 minutes played.
The 25-year-old player is currently the tallest player in the league; he has the tools and skills to make a difference, but he appears to succumb to pressures put on him to succeed and lacks the willingness to put in the work required. Can the Thunder, a team known for its dedicated gym work, harness an unfocused Thabeet?
News of the impending acquisition surely spells the end of Nazr Mohammed’s run with Oklahoma City. As such, Cole Aldrich may step into the backup role to starting center Kendrick Perkins with Thabeet in the third-string role.
The Thunder’s roster now includes four top draft picks over the past five years: No. 2 in 2007 (Kevin Durant), No. 4 in 2008 (Russell Westbrook), No. 3 in 2009 (Harden) and No. 2 in 2009 (Thabeet). [Source: HOOPSWORLD]