Thunder Increasing Efforts To Shed Salary

The Thunder have increased their efforts to reduce team salary for the 2019/20 season, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). According to Fischer, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Andre Roberson are all “very available,” as is the No. 21 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

After being on the hook for a league-high luxury tax bill in 2018/19 (reportedly $61.6MM), the Thunder project to be well over the tax line again next season. Currently, the team has committed approximately $144.5MM in guaranteed money to nine players for ’19/20, per Basketball Insiders. The tax threshold is projected to come in at about $132MM.

As I pointed out when I previewed the Thunder’s offseason, team ownership may not be on board with paying another big tax bill for a roster that has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for three consecutive years.

Attaching the No. 21 pick to the expiring contracts of Roberson ($10.7MM) and/or Patrick Patterson ($5.7MM) would be one way to shed salary. Moving a key rotation player like Adams ($25.8MM) or Schroder ($15.5MM) – both of whom have two years left on their deals – would represent a more drastic cost-cutting measure.

Head of basketball operations Sam Presti has some experience finding creative ways to trim team salary without sacrificing Oklahoma City’s on-court upside. Last summer, he moved Carmelo Anthony‘s $27MM expiring salary for Schroder, substantially reducing the Thunder’s projected tax bill while securing a veteran in Schroder who would play a more significant role than Anthony.

We’ll have to wait to see whether Presti has a mandate to reduce team salary again this summer, and if he can figure out another creative way to do so.

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19 thoughts on “Thunder Increasing Efforts To Shed Salary

    • kingcong95

      2 million isn’t a lot, and I don’t even think they want MKG.
      Instead, send Marvin to CLE along with #21, and JR Smith to OKC. This way the Hornets don’t add too much money, while OKC saves 15M after stretching the guaranteed portion for Smith.

    • stretch123

      Cleveland would want more for JR Smith’s deal. Maybe an additional future pick or two. Very valuable contract.

      • kingcong95

        #21 is approximately what it would take to dump 15 million. See Allen Crabbe and Kenneth Faried.

      • Not really. It’s the contracts taken back (16.4) minus 3.8 mm. That’s only about 12.6 mm (and over two bodies, so more like 11.7 mm). #21 is generous for such a small amount. But it depends how much they value #21.

        Yes, Smith’s 3.8 mm can be stretched, but so can the Patterson, Roberson or other contracts, with like impact in future years.

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        I would be happy with the 21st overall as long as the contract coming back is a 1 year deal.

    • Or the Suns, if Garland and White are gone (or even if they’re not, and they don’t like them that much). Why reach for a PG in the draft when you can pick up a young vet likely on the cheap?

  1. Connorsoxfan

    Roberson and Patterson with 21 for a competent veteran would make sense. You’re essentially looking at any middle of the pack rotation player on a crappy team. Slightly overpaid, somewhat useful. Dwayne Dedmon? What’s he make now?

  2. Connorsoxfan

    Roberson, Patterson, 21, and a future 2nd rounder for Ntilikina?

      • hiflew

        For that matter why would the Thunder do it for a 3rd string PG behind Westbrook and Schroder? If you are going to move a wing and a big, you probably need to get one of those back.

    • Dodgethis

      That would assume someone would give up more than a moldy sandwich for him. Not likely.

  3. cesc

    Well, well, well… seems that PG13 might have made a mistake by signing with OKC instead of the Lakers, that should be a warning for Kawhi, if you wanna go big you have to go to a big team, staying in small teams in not the way forward, simple as!

    • hiflew

      Yeah, going to the playoffs last season was much worse than sitting at home. And I don’t think Kawhi needs a warning while he is polishing yet another Finals MVP trophy.

      THE LAKERS HAVE DONE NOTHING YET! Some people around here anointed them the West’s #2 seed before last season and that didn’t happen either. Wait until they actually win something before you get so arrogant.

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