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OKC Thunder sign Luguentz Dort to multi-year contract

The wait is over for Luguentz Dort.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced Wednesday that Dort has signed a multi-year contract with the team. Terms of the deal were not released, per team policy, but Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that it's a four-year deal worth $5.4 million. 

The first year of the deal, which is for the rest of this season, will be a prorated amount of $155,647, according to ESPN's Royce Young. Dort will earn $1.5 million next season, $1.8 million in 2021-22 and $1.9 million in 2022-23, according to Young. The last two years of the deal aren't fully guaranteed. 

Dort, previously playing on a two-way contract, earned the promotion after making 21 starts for the Thunder as a rookie. Oklahoma City went 16-5 with Dort in the starting lineup. 

The stocky 6-foot-3 guard averaged 6.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game while cementing his role as a disruptive perimeter defender. 

Dort quickly became a fan favorite after hounding Rockets star James Harden in Dort’s first career start. Harden shot 9-of-29 from the field, and Dort drew a late-game charge against the former MVP to help seal the Thunder’s comeback win on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Dort will fill the final spot on the Thunder’s 15-man roster. After signing the 21-year-old to a standard NBA contract, the Thunder can now add another two-way player. 

Teams can bring as many as 17 players to Disney World for the season restart in July. 

Dort’s contract announcement Wednesday came a little more than a year after he surprisingly went undrafted after his one season at Arizona State. Dort was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, averaging 16.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. 

Nelson Osse sat beside Dort on draft night. 

“I saw the emotion with Lu, that he didn't get drafted and how disappointed he was,” Osse told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. “He put in the work, and a year after he signed a contract. It's just a blessing and shows how resilient he is. He never quits.” 

Osse is co-director of Brookwood Elite, an AAU program based in Dort’s hometown of Montreal. Osse coached Dort, and he’s known Dort for 10 years. 

“Every draft board said he was going to get drafted late first round, early second round,” Osse said. “I know for a fact that once he got the call from (Presti), he was all business.” 

The Thunder targeted Dort as an undrafted free agent, and soon signed him to a two-way contract. 

“I’m going to go out there and prove to those 29 (other) teams that they made a mistake,” Osse remembers Dort saying.

Two-way players, who go back and forth from the G League to the NBA, are only allowed to spend 45 days with their NBA team. The Thunder stretched Dort’s days by only calling him up for games, and not having him practice with the team

It was a cost saving measure. The two-way salary this season was $79,568, which doesn’t count toward the salary cap. The NBA’s minimum salary for rookies was $898,310, which Dort was earning on a prorated basis for every day he was with the Thunder. 

But now the team has made a long-term investment in Dort, who’s been looking for a long-term contract ever since last summer. 

“He definitely wanted to be in Oklahoma City,” Osse said. “Oklahoma City took a chance on him. They gave him an opportunity. He knew he had to show them that they made the right choice.” 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort (5) celebrates a dunk in front of Denver's Will Barton during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City,  Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.  [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort (5) celebrates a dunk in front of Denver's Will Barton during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4206e9e0d9ba6d9b6214746ed0e5feb1.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort (5) celebrates a dunk in front of Denver's Will Barton during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort (5) celebrates a dunk in front of Denver's Will Barton during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Luguentz Dort (5) celebrates a dunk in front of Denver's Will Barton during the NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. [Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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