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Report: League votes to reimburse the Thunder several million

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Tony Allen and Marc Gasol swarmed Kevin Durant all series. (Getty Images)
The Thunder are getting paid back. (USATSI)

When the new collective bargaining agreement was settled in 2011, there was a new maximum extension clause placed in it that allowed a “super” max designated to players coming off a rookie deal that met certain requirements. Basically, instead of the five-year max being worth 25 percent of the team's cap, it was 30 percent. It was nicknamed the “Rose Rule” because one of the stipulations in it was winning an MVP, among other things.

But Kevin Durant was actually the first player to receive the super max as he was retroactively awarded it. Because of it, Durant's max went from five years, $74.3 million to five years, $89.1 million.

According to a report from Grantland, though, the league voted at the Board of Governors meeting Thursday to reimburse the Thunder for the amount for the Durant super max.

Owners today voted to reimburse Thunder “several million dollars” for rule change new CBA applied retroactively to Durant's contract, per sources. The vote took place at today's Board of Governors meeting, according to several league sources here in Vegas.

The Thunder protested at the time, and Board today voted — not unanimously, I'm told — to pay OKC the difference b/w old and new Durant max. Kevin Durant will still get his full super-max amount; league will reimburse OKC ownership the difference, sources tell Grantland.

OK, so to recap that: Durant signed his max in 2010 pre-lockout, but the Rose max was applied to him because 2011 was the first season it kicked in. Now, the league is paying the Thunder back some of that $2.4 million a year or so, while Durant still gets his money.

Larry Coon of ESPN.com explained it like this in his story in 2011:

Durant meets the eligibility requirements for the Derrick Rose Rule, having been named to the All-NBA first team in 2010 and 2011 (he is also a two-time All-Star, but was voted in as the starter only once). However, it was unclear whether the league would allow the rule to be applied to a player who signed his extension under the previous collective bargaining agreement. The league decided last week that Durant does qualify, making him the first player so designated under the Derrick Rose Rule. He will receive the 30 percent maximum salary (30 percent of the salary cap), which is otherwise available only to players with seven to nine years in the league. His 2011-12 salary will be $15,506,632 and his five-year extension will total $89,163,135.

Had Durant not been granted the larger maximum salary, his 2010-11 earnings would have been $12,922,194 and his five-year extension would have totaled $74,302,616. By being granted the larger maximum, Durant earns an extra $2,584,438 this season and an extra $14,860,519 over the life of his extension — quite a Christmas bonus.

For a small market team like the Thunder operating on a budget, that's quite a bit of money added to the bottom line.

The other big question to this was if the money that was reimbursed was also going to come off the Thunder's salary cap number. Sources tell CBSSports.com that it will not impact OKC's cap number.

When Durant was retroactively awarded the Rose max, it put the Thunder over the cap at the time.

So essentially, the league voted to give the Thunder's ownership group a few extra million dollars. Good for them, I guess.

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