Western Notes: Thunder, Jazz, Kings, Iguodala, Finney-Smith

After mostly sitting out last week’s trade deadline – with the exception of a very minor deal involving KZ Okpala – the Thunder are still about $23MM below the $101.2MM salary cap floor for 2021/22, John Hollinger writes for The Athletic.

As Hollinger explains, the Thunder’s situation is a “very hot topic in the agent world,” since teams are required to either spend to the salary floor or pay the difference to their players. Assuming Oklahoma City doesn’t try to get to the floor by signing free agents to deals that include oversized first-year salaries, the team could end up paying about $1.5MM to each of its own players at season’s end.

Hollinger believes this latter scenario is more likely than the Thunder spending big on free agents in the next couple months. Recent European imports who have received big late-season free agent contracts, such as Gabriel Deck and Luca Vildoza, haven’t exactly worked out, and it’s not OKC will feel the need to be a major player on the buyout market.

More importantly, even if the team is required to pay its own players at the end of the season to reach the salary floor, those payments won’t count toward the cap. In other words, the Thunder could still take upwards of $31MM in cap room into draft night, giving them the ability to make trades in June that other clubs wouldn’t be able to accommodate.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Howard Beck of SI.com is the latest reporter to suggest that the alleged tension between Jazz teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell hasn’t exactly dissipated. “I think they’re in trouble, because this thing has run its course and we know there are some tensions that are in that locker room,” Beck said on The Crossover NBA Show podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip to HoopsHype). “And I’ve been told recently that they might be a little worse than we’ve even been led to believe. And so if this doesn’t end well this postseason, and there’s no reason to think that it will… those ‘Donovan Mitchell wants out’ rumors are going to be starting, like, as soon as the season is over.”
  • General manager Monte McNair felt that the players the Kings acquired at the deadline – including Domantas Sabonis, Donte DiVincenzo, and Justin Holiday – are good fits both on and off the court. “We want competitors, toughness,” McNair said over the weekend, per Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “We need to improve our rebounding and defense. And I think all these guys that we’ve brought are not just great players, good talents, all that type of stuff, but guys that are going to fit into that type of culture we’re trying to build here.”
  • Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala, who has played just once since January 20, went through the team’s shootaround today, but will remain sidelined until after the All-Star break, per head coach Steve Kerr (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Iguodala is dealing with lower back tightness.
  • Dorian Finney-Smith‘s new four-year extension with the Mavericks is worth the maximum amount he was eligible for ($55,560,960) and includes a trade kicker of 5%, Hoops Rumors has learned.
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