@LakerTom – My man, I think Russ IS eligible for the DVPE (aka the Kevin Durant rule).
Via Wikipedia: “The Kevin Durant” Rule. The provision in the 2017 CBA that will allow teams to create Designated Player contracts for their own veteran players, officially known as the “Designated Veteran Player Extension” (DVPE), came to be called the “Kevin Durant Rule” because it was seen as a reaction to a wave of veteran superstars leaving their teams in free agency, capped off by Durant’s departure from the Thunder to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 offseason. The 2011 CBA allowed all of the teams that were trying to lure Durant to offer him the same initial salary of $26.5 million.
For a veteran player to qualify for such an extension, he must be entering his eighth or ninth season in the NBA, and have either:
-made the All-NBA team (at any level) in either the immediately previous season, or two of the three previous seasons;
-been named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in either the immediately previous season, or two of the three previous seasons; or
-been named NBA MVP at least once in the previous three seasons.
Additionally, the team offering the extension must have originally drafted the player, or obtained him in a trade while he was on his rookie contract.
Players who qualify can be offered contracts with a starting salary between 30 and 35% of the salary cap. The extension cannot last more than five years after the expiration of the player’s current contract (or five years for a player who is a free agent when signed), but can be negotiated and signed one year before the current contract expires. The extension can be offered to a team’s own free agent as well as a player with time left on his contract. Additionally, once a player signs a DVPE, he cannot be traded for one year.
Ironically, while the rule was intended to encourage star players to stay with their current teams, the first major move by an NBA team involving a player eligible for the DVPE was the Sacramento Kings’ trade of DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2017 All-Star break. Cousins’ contract with the Kings was not set to expire until 2018, but he was eligible to sign a DVPE after the 2016–17 season for up to $209 million over five years, a financial commitment that the Kings were apparently unwilling to make.
Russell has been All NBA 2nd team 3 years running and has a great shot of being named MVP this season, which wouldn’t matter for the sake of our conversation. All the Thunder need to assign him that status was his ALL NBA status from the last 2 years. not sure that the fact that his OG draft team changed it’s name and location matters for the purposes of this…but that’s the only caveat I can think of. This concluded his 9th NBA season so it looks like he’s checked all the boxes, unlike PG whose leg injury from a couple years back will surely cost him many, many millions of dollars in free agency.