Thunder Notes: Patterson, Luxury Tax, Bliss, Gibbs

Erik Horne of The Oklahoman opines that Patrick Patterson became expendable after the Thunder acquired Danilo Gallinari from the Clippers, signed veteran free agent Mike Muscala, and drafted Darius Bazley in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft.

Gallinari is now the likely the starter at power forward, able to stretch the floor alongside big man Steven Adams. Meanwhile, Muscala has arguably been a more productive player the last two seasons and is three years younger. Finally, Bazley, still only 19 years old, will almost certainly merit playing time should the Thunder fall into rebuild mode.

Patterson, who was signed in the summer of 2017, was supposed to be the type of floor spacer the Thunder are now looking for from Gallinari, but he never lived up to his contract. The signing of Carmelo Anthony, which pushed Patterson to a reserve role, didn’t help, nor did undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in 2017.

That said, Patterson is just a season removed from shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range and 87 percent from the line, so it’s possible he could be a nice piece for the Clippers in the right role.

There’s more to report from Oklahoma City this afternoon:

  • According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Thunder will stretch Patterson’s cap hit over the next three seasons. With Patterson giving back $3.5MM of his $5,711,200 salary, the yearly cap hits equal $737,067 after taking set-off into account.
  • Marks adds (Twitter link) that while the Thunder are now approximately $698K below the luxury tax threshold, they only have 13 guaranteed contracts. As such, they’ll need to go back into the tax in order to sign another player to a standard contract.
  • Despite his infamous name, Thunder player development coach Dave Bliss, also a former Knicks’ assistant coach under former Thunder point guard Derek Fisher and Jeff Hornacek, is well on his way to a promising coaching career, writes Horne in a separate piece for The Oklahoman.
  • Former Gonzaga and Creighton guard Grant Gibbs has been named head coach of the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced on Friday. Per Executive Vice President and GM Sam Presti, “Grant is someone we identified early in his post-playing career as a potential fit within our organization… He has steadily impressed us with his versatility as a coach. We believe he will do an excellent job with the Blue and is ready to continue his growth within the organization.”

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