Oklahoma City Thunder Reportedly Agree to 2-Year Deal with Hasheem Thabeet

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2012

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 25:  Hasheem Thabeet #34 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 25, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Grizzlies 126-111.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a deal with free-agent center Hasheem Thabeet.

7-3 center Hasheem Thabeet agrees to two-year deal with @okcthunder, source tells Y! Second overall pick in 2009 draft joining his 4th team.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 4, 2012

 

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman notes:

The deal cannot officially be signed until the league's free agent moratorium period is lifted on July 11. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately known, but the contract, which will be fully guaranteed for both seasons, is believed to be a minimal salary, or roughly $880,000 in the first year of the contract.

Thabeet is a restricted free agent, so his former team, the Houston Rockets, will have the right to match the offer. If the 7'3" Thabeet does in fact sign with the reigning Western Conference champion Thunder, it will be his fourth team since being drafted second overall in 2009.

As a UConn product by way of Tanzania, Thabeet came into the NBA highly touted after a three-year career with the Huskies that saw him average 10.5 rebounds and over four blocks per game.

Mayberry notes,

Oklahoma City has been enamored with Thabeet since his college days and was widely believed to be strongly considering selecting him, if available, with the third overall pick. Memphis plucked Thabeet second overall in part because the Grizzlies thought Oklahoma City would take him if they didn't.

Thabeet has largely struggled to show that defensive prowess at the NBA level, as he hasn't averaged more than 10 minutes per game since his rookie season in Memphis.

As one of the premier teams in the league, the Thunder obviously don't need Thabeet to come in and contribute right away. But with 34-year-old Nazr Mohammed most likely gone, the Thunder have room to take a chance on a young post player, and Thabeet should fit the bill. 

Mohammed's role on the Thunder was very limited, as he averaged 2.7 rebounds in 11 minutes of floor time per game in the regular season and was rarely used in the playoffs. If Thabeet can do anything close to that and maybe even block a shot or two a game, the Thunder will be getting a great return on their investment.

With elite shot-blocker Serge Ibaka already in tow, it would be scary if the Thunder could develop yet another young, lengthy shot-blocker to bolster their defense.