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NBA’s summer madness, otherwise known as free agency, kicked off last Thursday. While the rebuilding Thunder aren’t likely to set off any free agency fireworks, OKC still has made and will make plenty of important roster moves. Let’s round up the Thunder’s offseason transactions thus far.
Sam Presti says OKC is likely to exercise the option on Lu Dort’s contract
While the wording of the juiciest audio nugget of the rookie press conference sounds like a positive for Dort’s future in OKC, this decision actually means Lu will hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the season. The Thunder fan favorite would be free to sign with any team of his choosing. Many OKC fans, including both my father-in-law and Dylan from my church league, would riot.
Sike! OKC re-signs Lu Dort
The $87.5 million for five years contract is polarizing. The beloved, maximum effort player is not. Most to nearly all Thunder fans wanted to keep the undrafted defensive specialist turned rookie starter on a playoff team turned James Harden stopper turned 17-point scorer in OKC for the long haul. On one hand, some fans feel $17.5 million is an overpay for great defense but meh efficiency and that committing to Luguentz long term caps OKC’s ceiling. On the other hand, other fans feels the rising cap, Dort’s year by year offensive improvement, his corner 3 point percentage and his clamps are well worth the money. Ultimately, the risk is mostly mitigated by the likelihood Lu’s contract is tradable and the reward is if Dort turns into an All-Defensive Team member and a net plus on offense, Lu’s contract goes back to bargain bin status.
OKC declines Mike Muscala’s option
A sad day for Thunder fans. The Moose is officially loose. Along with his OKC-loving heart and 42.9% 3-point shooting.
Sike! OKC re-signs Mike Muscala to the vet minimum
Whew. Don’t do that to us, Sammy. Not only is Muscala a highly respected locker room presence, but he’s (unfortunately) proven over the past three years that he’s more than capable of winning basketball games for the Thunder. Don’t even get me started on that Heat game winner in The Bubble. Cause then I’d have to mention that the 76ers drafted Tyrese Maxey with the draft pick that Moose’s clutch gene cost OKC. And I don’t want to do that. Muscala’s contract is only a one-year deal, but if OKC surprises and wants to win some games this season, a 7 foot floor spacer on the vet minimum as your backup center will help.
OKC picks up the option on Isaiah Roby
Good! He may be older for a rebuilding core at 24 years old, but the Nebraska graduate cornhusked 3s at a 44.4% rate last season. His physical measurements and his numbers across the board are seriously similar to fellow 2019 draftee Rui Hachimura. Rui was the 9th pick of that draft. Roby was the 45th.
Sike! OKC waives Isaiah Roby
The Thunder were trying to buy time on Roby’s decision. Presumably to either find a trade partner for Isaiah or to find a way to keep him on the roster. OKC likes Roby, and I personally believe he has the ability to be a rotation player in the NBA. But there’s simply a crowded logjam of younger, higher upside power forwards/centers on the roster. At this time, it seems OKC will have the following bigs on their opening night roster: Chet Holmgren, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Jaylin Williams, Darius Bazley, Ousmane Dieng, Mike Muscala and oxymoron big Poku. All of those guys besides Chet Chaperone Mike are younger than Roby and require development minutes.
OKC fully guarantees Theo Maledon
Stay tuned for the upcoming Sammy Sike in a future DT Journal