By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Basketball Writer
Andre Roberson is staying in Oklahoma City, teaming with Paul George to give the Thunder one of the NBA’s most ferocious perimeter defensive tandems.
Roberson agreed to terms Wednesday on a three-year, $30 million deal with Oklahoma City, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because the contract cannot be signed until Thursday.
In four years with the Thunder, Roberson has emerged as a top-flight perimeter defender. He is able to guard at least three positions and shoulders a lot of the defensive burden to allow MVP Russell Westbrook to save some of his energy for the other end of the floor.
After Thunder GM Sam Presti landed George in a trade with Indiana earlier this summer, Roberson has a new lockdown running mate. George has long been a premier defender, and the two will give the Thunder one of the few pairings in the league that may stand a chance of sticking with Golden State’s gunners.
ESPN first reported the agreement.
Roberson averaged 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds last season. But his real value is on the defensive end, where he often guards the opposing team’s best scorer and was named to the league’s All-Defensive second team. He is 6-foot-7 and George is 6-9. Add to that the 7-foot Steven Adams and the Thunder have plenty of size to match up with Golden State and the versatility needed to switch on screens and get a hand up on open shooters.
The move is the latest in a busy summer for Thunder Presti, who also locked up veteran Patrick Patterson to give the team some toughness and shot-making at power forward.
The Thunder will of course hope to see some improvement from Roberson on the offensive end. He shot a woeful 42.3 percent at the free throw line last season, compelling some teams to use the hack-a strategy to get him off the floor, an extremely rare occurrence for a wing player.
Roberson also shot just 24.5 percent from 3-point range.
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