OKC Thunder sign Luguentz Dort to 4-year, $5.4 million deal

OKC Thunder's Luguentz Dort #5 dribbles the ball while being guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder's Luguentz Dort #5 dribbles the ball while being guarded by Donte DiVincenzo #0 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder get a quick jump on signing Luguentz Dort to a multi-year deal

The OKC Thunder and Luguentz Dort wasted little time inking the guard to a deal. That the Canadian went undrafted last summer was surprising as many had him pegged to go early to mid-second round. Sam Presti and his front office jumped on the prospect immediately after the draft and signed him to a two-way deal.

That contract allowed the Montreal native to spend 45 days with the parent club. This factor would become an issue as he joined the varsity club because practice sessions count toward that 45-day tally.

For this reason, even prior to the season going on hiatus the expectation was the Thunder would convert Dort to a full varsity contract by the due date. Knowing his presence was required down the stretch and into the playoffs his signing was a priority. Once the season was put on hold the big question wasn’t will the OKC Thunder sign Dort to a full deal — but how quickly will Presti make it happen.

Early in the season, Lu Dort played the majority of his minutes with the G-League Affiliate OKC Blue. In his 13 appearances with the Blue, Dort averaged 19.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.

Lu Dort earned his OKC Thunder varsity contract

All of this became possible because the opportunity arose when Terrance Ferguson had to miss time. With a lack of players on the bench who could provide the same type of defensive intensity, the Canadian got his shot.

The old adage of ‘next man up’ ruled as Dort was tapped to fill in for TFerg. What happened is the stuff movie plots are built upon. The youngster didn’t just fill in for Ferguson — he stole his starting job.

Many wondered if Dort starting would inspire more offensive aggression from Ferguson who would roar back to steal back his job. Instead, TFerg melded into the reserve unit content to play off the bench.

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In his 21 starts with the varsity team, the OKC Thunder have amassed a 16-5 record. Stats wise the youngster holds his own. In 29 games he is averaging 6.2 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, and 0.8 steals.

His efficiency could use some tweaking as he puts up splits of 41.4 percent from the field, 30.1 percent from deep and 77.8 percent from the stripe. The latter a solid indicator there is room for improvement from the perimeter. Dort recently turned 21 so there is ample time for development and working on improving his shot and range.

As the fifth scoring option, the immediate priority remains on his ability to stop the best guard or forward on the opposition. A job he handles effectively and efficiently.

UPDATE: Royce Young’s tweet provides the contract details. The term is four years for $5.4 million. This season is prorated at $155,647. Next season (2020-21) is fully guaranteed at $1.517M. In the 2021-22 season, Dort is set to receive $1.782M with only $300,000 guaranteed and similarly the 2022-23 season he will get $1.93M with $325,000 guaranteed.

Nick Gallo’s piece on the official Thunder website offers up a more detailed chronology of Dort’s path this season. Gallo notes the popularity of the guard within the lockerroom and how quickly he’s gained Billy Donovan’s trust.

"“He’s a conscientious guy,” Donovan said of Dort. “He knows what the other side looks like. There’s a drive and an appreciation for the opportunity that’s been given to him.”"

Dort hasn’t found himself on the court in the closing clutch time minutes. There’s a simple reason for that given how well the Thunder Clutch Time Killers play.  That said, if the Thunder find themselves in a dog fight in the postseason games he could find himself gaining some whistle minutes with Donovan inserting him for defensive possessions.

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