Usman Garuba Waived By Thunder

The Thunder have placed Usman Garuba on waivers, the team announced (via Twitter).

The 21-year-old power forward/center played his first two seasons with the Rockets after being selected with the 23rd pick in the 2021 draft. Injuries limited him to 24 games as a rookie, but he appeared in 75 contests last season, averaging 3.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per night.

Garuba was sent to the Hawks in a five-team trade that became official when the moratorium was lifted in early July. Atlanta shipped him to OKC in a separate deal four days later.

Garuba started his career with Real Madrid and was named EuroLeague Rising Star in 2021. He gained a reputation as a strong defender and rebounder in Europe before declaring for the NBA draft.

He will now go through the waiver process, where teams will have two days to submit claims. Any team that claims him would be on the hook for his $2.6MM salary for the upcoming season, so it’s more likely that he’ll wind up signing a minimum contract somewhere. He would be eligible for a standard contract with any team except Atlanta and a two-way deal with any team except the Hawks or Thunder.

Garuba’s 2023/24 salary will remain on the Thunder’s cap if he’s not claimed, but the team won’t have to pay the $4.4MM option he had for 2024/25.

Oklahoma City is now down to 18 players on standard contracts and must get rid of at least three more by opening night. The Thunder have two openings on their offseason roster with reported camp deals looming for Caleb McConnell and Adam Flagler.

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