#ThunderRank – A look at the top 17 players for the Thunder and how their seasons might shake out
When the Oklahoma City Thunder made the trade that brought Victor Oladipo and the rights to Domantas Sabonis over to OKC, many thought Ersan Ilyasova’s inclusion in the trade was for salary matching purposes only. Ilyasova was in the final year of a contract that would pay him $8.4 million in the next season, but only $400,000 of that salary was guaranteed if he was waived by July 1st, 2016. With cap space at a premium, many thought the Thunder would cut Ilyasova and use that saved money to not only re-sign Durant, but also Dion Waiters.
As midnight passed on July 1st, the Thunder made the decision to keep Ilyasova (and his full salary) on the roster. With the Thunder owning the Bird rights to both Durant and Waiters, it really didn’t matter how much money they were over the cap/tax line if they truly wanted to re-sign them. If anything, Ilyasova would go into the season as a back-up stretch four for the team or as a sizable trade chip for future transactions. Keep Reading…