Thunder Rumors

Thunder Sign Zavier Simpson

The Thunder have signed Zavier Simpson to an Exhibit 10 deal, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (via Twitter). The move was first reported yesterday by Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw.

Simpson will likely be waived before the start of the regular season. If he spends at least 60 days with the OKC Blue, the Thunder’s G League affiliate, he could earn a bonus of up to $50k.

Simpson, a 6’0″ point guard, went undrafted in 2019-20 after four seasons with the Michigan Wolverines. He played well as a senior, averaging 12.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 6.9 APG (33.7 MPG) in 30 games. He spent last season with the OKC Blue in the G League bubble, averaging 9.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 6.1 APG (28.5 MPG) in 15 games, all starts.

Thunder Release D.J. Wilson, Scotty Hopson

The Thunder have waived forward D.J. Wilson and guard Scotty Hopson, the team announced today. The moves reduce Oklahoma City’s roster count to 18 players, for the time being.

Wilson, the 17th overall pick in the 2017 draft, spent the first three-and-a-half season of his career in Milwaukee before being traded to Houston at last season’s trade deadline. He had fallen out of the Bucks’ rotation, but averaged 6.1 PPG and 3.8 RPG with a shooting line of .416/.339/.696 in 23 games (14.3 MPG) during his stint with the Rockets.

Hopson, who appeared in two NBA games in 2014 with Cleveland and one in 2018 with Dallas, has spent most of his career in the G League or playing in international leagues. The 6’7″ wing played for Melbourne United in 2020/21 after appearing in 41 G League games for the Oklahoma City Blue from 2018-20.

Hopson looks like a good bet to rejoin the Blue for the upcoming season, and it’s possible Wilson will join him.

Meanwhile, it appears the Thunder have also officially signed Zavier Simpson, whose Exhibit 10 deal with the team we reported on Thursday. Oklahoma City hasn’t formally announced the signing, but Simpson is listed on the team’s official roster page.

Knicks Sign Goodwin; Thunder Add Hopson

The Knicks have signed former Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin, the team’s PR department tweets.

Goodwin saw action in 47 games with Atlanta last year, averaging 4.9 PPG and 2.0 APG. He played on a $1.7MM contract last season and became a free agent when the team failed to extend a qualifying offer. He didn’t play in the postseason, partially due to a respiratory condition.

It’s an Exhibit 10 contract, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. That would give the Westchester Knicks his G League rights if/when the Knicks waive him.

Here are a couple more of the latest training camp signings:

  • The Thunder have signed guard Scotty Hopson to a camp deal, according to the team’s PR department. He appeared in 41 games with the Oklahoma City Blue from 2018-20, including six games in 2020 where he averaged 18.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 31.2 minutes. He played for Melbourne United last season. Hopson, who played one games with Dallas during the 2017/18 season, will likely be waived and return to the Blue.
  • The Jazz have signed Nino Johnson, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets. Johnson, a 6’9” forward, played for the G League’s Memphis Hustle two seasons ago. He’ll likely be waived and play for Utah’s G League affiliate in Salt Lake City.

Thunder Waive Melvin Frazier, Expected To Sign Zavier Simpson

After joining the Thunder on a training camp deal earlier in the week, veteran wing Melvin Frazier has been waived, the team announced today.

The No. 35 pick in the 2018 draft, Frazier played in just 29 NBA games in his first two professional seasons, with Orlando. He has spent more time in the G League over the last three years, appearing in 41 games with the Lakeland Magic from 2018-20, then suiting up for the Oklahoma City Blue in the 2021 NBAGL bubble.

Frazier played a limited role with the Blue, averaging just 6.8 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 12 games (20.8 MPG), but the fact that he received an Exhibit 10 deal this week suggests the Thunder plan on having him return to their G League affiliate for the 2021/22 season.

The Thunder now have an open roster spot and may use it to sign Zavier Simpson. Our JD Shaw (Twitter link) hears from a source that Oklahoma City is expected to sign the guard to an Exhibit 10 deal.

Like Frazier, Simpson played for the OKC Blue last season and would be in line for a bonus worth up to $50K if he returns to the G League and spends at least 60 days with the club. The former Michigan Wolverine averaged 9.8 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 15 games (28.5 MPG) in the G League in 2021.

Mamadi Diakite Has Left Hip Fracture, Out Indefinitely

Thunder forward Mamadi Diakite has been diagnosed with a left hip fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Diakite sustained the injury during Sunday’s preseason game against Milwaukee, Mussatto adds.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Diakite, who was claimed off waivers by the Thunder last month and was trying to prove he deserved a spot on the regular season roster. Only $100K of Diakite’s minimum-salary contract is guaranteed, making him a potential casualty of a roster crunch.

Although the Thunder haven’t revealed their plans for their 15-man regular season roster, they’re carrying 13 players on guaranteed contracts, and Kenrich Williams is a lock for the roster despite his non-guaranteed salary. That leaves just one available 15-man spot — if Diakite’s injury takes him out of the running, Gabriel Deck and D.J. Wilson would likely be the top contenders for it.

Northwest Notes: DSJ, Gay, Jazz, Thunder

Former lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. appears to have the 14th spot on the Trail Blazers‘ regular season roster all but locked up, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic.

The Trail Blazers entered training camp with 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, and they’re unlikely to carry a 15th man on a permanent basis for luxury-tax reasons. That left Smith competing with Marquese Chriss, Quinn Cook, and Patrick Patterson for what may just be one available roster spot, and he has impressed the team so far this fall.

“There have been some behind-closed-doors practices and games where some of the other guys have stood out or played well, too,” Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said on Monday after Smith put up 18 points and seven assists against Sacramento. “But, you know, you can’t hide what you saw today. I mean, (Smith) was really good.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Tony Jones of The Athletic takes a look at the impact that veteran forward Rudy Gay could have with the Jazz this season, both on and off the court. “He’s been a real leader for us so far,” Hassan Whiteside said of Gay. “He’s someone who is making a difference.”
  • Trading Derrick Favors and signing Gay will give the Jazz more flexibility to play against smaller lineups, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes in his season preview for the team, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised if Gay is Utah’s de facto backup center in the playoffs. Hollinger adds that the Jazz could reduce their luxury tax bill by unloading a couple smaller contracts in deadline trades and replacing them with prorated minimum signings.
  • Hollinger also previewed the Thunder‘s season, pointing out that the team remains $22MM below the salary floor for 2021/22, putting OKC in great position to accommodate a salary dump at the deadline.

Melvin Frazier Joins Thunder On Training Camp Deal

Free agent swingman Melvin Frazier has joined the Thunder on an Exhibit 10 training camp deal, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (via Twitter).

After being selected with the No. 35 pick in the 2018 NBA draft out of Tulane by the Magic, Frazier appeared sparingly for Orlando, logging time in just 10 games with the Magic during his rookie season in 2018/19. The 6’5″ 25-year-old played in 19 contests for Orlando during the 2019/20 season.

Frazier had a better showing with Orlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. He averaged 12.2 PPG and 4.7 RPG in 18 games during the 2018/19 season and 18.1 PPG and 6.6 RPG across 23 games in 2019/20.

After failing to develop in Orlando, Frazier next appeared in 12 games for the Oklahoma City Blue during the Orlando “bubble” NBAGL season in 2021, averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.4 RPG. His new deal with the Thunder suggests the plan is for him to return to the Blue in 2021/22.

Thunder Sign, Waive Jaylen Hoard

OCTOBER 12: After announcing his signing on Monday, the Thunder have waived Hoard, per Mussatto (Twitter link). Mussatto expects that Hoard will join the club’s NBA G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.


OCTOBER 11: The Thunder have signed forward Jaylen Hoard on an Exhibit 10 contract, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman tweets.

Hoard is returning to the franchise after getting signed to a two-way contract last April. He saw action in 19 games, averaging 6.1 PPG and 3.4 RPG.

Oklahoma City opened up a camp roster spot by releasing Rob Edwards earlier on Monday.

Undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, Hoard spent his rookie season on a two-way deal with Portland, logging limited minutes in 13 games for the Trail Blazers. Hoard, 22, suited up for the Oklahoma City Blue at the Walt Disney World bubble in February and March, averaging 9.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 15 games (22.0 MPG) off the bench.

Hoard will likely end up with the Blue again this season and receive a $50K bonus if he remains on the G League roster for 60 days.

Thunder Experimenting With Different Lineups

  • The Thunder continue to experiment with different lineups, according to Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com, who notes that the team used 35 different five-man units in its first two preseason games. “With the lineups, the way that we try to look at it is that every player has their own individual style of play, and the lineups are just a merging of those things,” head coach Mark Daigneault said.

Thunder Release Rob Edwards

The Thunder have trimmed their preseason roster to 19 players, announcing today that they’ve waived guard Rob Edwards.

Edwards, who went undrafted out of Arizona State in 2020, played for the Oklahoma City Blue – the Thunder’s G League affiliate – as a rookie in 2020/21. The 6’6″ guard averaged 12.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG with a .440 3PT% in 15 NBAGL games (21.3 MPG).

Edwards was a member of the Thunder’s Summer League team in Las Vegas in August and appears likely to rejoin the Blue for the upcoming G League season, since OKC has his returning rights. Having received an Exhibit 10 deal, he’d be in line for a bonus worth up to $50K if he spends at least 60 days in the NBAGL.

Oklahoma City now has 13 players on guaranteed contracts, one with a partial guarantee, three on non-guaranteed deals, and a pair on two-way pacts.