1:25pm: The Thunder have issued a press release confirming their four cuts: McGary and Price, as reported, along with Wright and Tarczewski, as speculated below. OKC’s roster is now at 15 players, ready for the regular season.
1:20pm: The Thunder intend to waive a pair of players with guaranteed salaries, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that Mitch McGary and Ronnie Price will receive their walking papers from the team. With Price no longer in the mix, Oklahoma City will keep rookie Semaj Christon to provide depth at point guard, per Charania.
The decision to waive McGary doesn’t come as a shock. In addition to failing to produce much on the court during his first two seasons in OKC, McGary also got into more trouble off the court this offseason. The NBA suspended the former Michigan big man twice – first for five games and then for an additional 10 – for violations of the league’s drug policy.
As Bobby Marks of The Vertical tweets, that suspension will begin if and when McGary signs with a new NBA team. For now though, McGary is hoping to resume his career in China or somewhere in Europe, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link).
The Thunder will still have to pay McGary’s guaranteed salary, but that figure is fairly modest compared to Price’s guaranteed money. The veteran point guard signed a two-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth $5MM this summer, so Oklahoma City will be on the hook for about $2.558MM in 2016/17, with the remainder coming later. The Thunder could choose to stretch out Price’s 2017/18 cap hit across multiple years.
With McGary and Price headed for the waiver wire, and Christon apparently safe, the Thunder will have to make two more cuts this afternoon. Chris Wright and Kaleb Tarczewski look like the clear candidates to be waived, perhaps with an eye toward a D-League assignment to OKC’s affiliate.