Kyle Singler Deal Is Actually a Bargain for OKC Thunder


If you talk to anyone about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason moves, the conversation will almost certainly steer toward Enes Kanter‘s big contract, whether he’s worth that $70 million price tag or if the need warranted the cost. However, almost no one will bring up the contract that was agreed upon a week earlier, first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

When this deal was first reported, many fans were scratching their heads as to why GM Sam Presti would pay so much money for Kyle Singler, a player who will likely be ninth or tenth in the rotation. In fact, I thought the same thing myself at first.

Singler didn’t have a great statistical tenure with the Thunder by any means. He averaged 3.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 33.3 percent shooting in 26 games with the team. His lone bright spot was his conversion rate from beyond the arc, a robust 37 percent.

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However, Singler’s career averages make this slump with OKC an anomaly. Singler shoots 42.4 percent from the field and an excellent 37.8 percent from three-point range in his career. If someone didn’t know which player was putting up those figures, they would likely say the contract was a good one.

It seems that Singler is being unfairly blasted because of this contract for the simple reason that he is extremely average at everything aside from shooting.

Still, let’s pretend the NBA hired scouts to do reports on every single player on every team just to take stock in the talent the league has. Singler’s scouting report would likely read something like this:

"“Versatile wing at 6’9 who who shows he has excellent fundamentals. Good outside shooter and does not turn the ball over very often. He is an average defender who can guard the two and three positions while holding his own on the boards. “"

All of those skills sound like valuable traits to contribute to a team, especially one that is contending for a championship.

This scouting report could  similarly describe many of the players at Singler’s position, all of whom are paid within the same range. This includes other veterans like Al-Farouq Aminu, Iman Shumpert, or Corey Brewer. In fact, every single one of these players is getting paid significantly more per year than Singler.

To me, it is ridiculous to suggest that Aminu or Brewer’s deals are better than Singler’s when each of these players will probably have the same impact on their respective teams next season. Moreover, with the salary cap set to explode in upcoming seasons, having a quality wing player like the former Duke Blue Devil at his current contract will seem very affordable, as pointed out by ESPN’s Royce Young:

One last aspect that I believe makes this quite a good deal is Singler’s attitude and desire to stay with the Thunder. In his exit interview after last season, Singler expresses his desire to stay with OKC:

"“I want to be back for sure. This is the type of environment that I think I thrive in. A winning team, winning organization, talented players. This is where I want to be.”"

In an offseason that has been highlighted by players not knowing where they want to play, (I’m looking at you DeAndre Jordan) it’s nice to have a player that is locked in and focused on trying to make the Thunder a title-contending team.

Next: Reviewing the Unfair Criticism Over the Enes Kanter Deal