Thunder Decline Option On Forward

The Oklahoma City Thunder have declined forward Lu Dort's $1.9 million team option, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The move makes the defensive wing a restricted free agent and gives the Thunder the chance to sign him to a new deal.

Dort has steadily developed into a solid NBA player since arriving in Oklahoma City as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He was quite a pleasant surprise in his rookie campaign and even earned a starting role when they made the playoffs that season. 

Dort saw a larger offensive role his sophomore season when the Thunder finally embraced tank mode, turning in averages of 14.0 points and 3.6 rebounds. This year, the 23-year-old averaged 17.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in 51 games.

Oklahoma City is slowly, but surely, building its core after selecting Gonzaga star Chet Holmgren with the no. 2 overall pick in this year's draft. They also added Ousmane Dieng (11th pick, acquired from the Knicks), Jalen Williams (12th pick), and Jaylin Williams (34th pick) to their young core.

The Thunder definitely have a promising bunch. But retaining an offensively-improving defensive stud like Dort for the long run should still be among the franchise's top priorities this offseason.

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