Olivier Sarr

Thunder Notes: Saric, Deadline Deals, Omoruyi, Sarr

Although he’s still just 28 years old, Dario Saric suddenly finds himself in the position of being his team’s oldest player following a trade from Phoenix to Oklahoma City last Thursday. Saric, who referred to the Thunder as a “high-level organization,” doesn’t sound like someone who will pursue a buyout from his new club, suggesting on Monday that he’s looking forward to taking on the role of veteran mentor in OKC.

“You’re always surprised,” Saric said of the trade, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. “That’s kind of how things go. At the end of the day, happy to be here. Happy to be part of this organization, a part of this group of young, talented guys who have a lot of years in front of them to play basketball.”

Asked about the role he anticipates playing with the Thunder, Saric said he doesn’t have any real expectations and is happy to play things by ear.

“I think I will go with the flow,” he said. “We’re gonna figure out everything, how the games go. I’m here open-minded, and coach (Mark Daigneault) says he’s open-minded.”

Here’s more on the Thunder:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is looking forward to seeing what Saric brings to the Thunder, but admitted it was tough to say goodbye to Darius Bazley and Mike Muscala at the trade deadline. Gilgeous-Alexander referred to the club’s locker room as “close-knit” and added that Bazley is “like a brother” to him. Daigneault, meanwhile, said he hopes Bazley and Muscala thrive with their new teams, Mussatto writes for The Oklahoman. “We want those guys to move on and continue to have success and contribute to the teams that they’re on,” the head coach said. “I think that would be a good reflection on the program.”
  • Eugene Omoruyi‘s new contract with the Thunder is a two-year, minimum-salary deal that isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Oklahoma City will hold a non-guaranteed $1,927,896 team option on Omoruyi for the 2023/24 season following his promotion from a two-way contract last week.
  • As for Olivier Sarr‘s two-way deal, it only covers the rest of this season, Hoops Rumors has learned. Players who sign two-way contracts during the second half often agree to add a second year, but that’s not the case for Sarr, who will be eligible this summer for restricted free agency.

Thunder Sign Olivier Sarr To Two-Way Contract

Center Olivier Sarr has returned to the Thunder on a two-way contract, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

The 23-year-old center signed a pair of 10-day contracts and then a two-way deal with Oklahoma City last season. He appeared in 22 total games, averaging 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds, before being waived in April.

Sarr joined the Trail Blazers for training camp on an Exhibit 10 contract and was impressive enough in the preseason to earn a two-way deal with the team. However, he suffered a partial tear of a ligament in his right wrist that sidelined him for six weeks and he was waived in mid-November. In January, he signed with the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

OKC had a two-way opening after converting Eugene Omoruyi‘s contract to a standard deal on Friday.

Blazers Waive Olivier Sarr, Sign Ibou Badji To Two-Way Deal

2:52pm: The Blazers have officially waived Sarr and signed Badji, the team confirmed today in a press release.

12:47pm: The Trail Blazers are waiving one of their two-way players, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that center Olivier Sarr is being released. In Sarr’s place, Portland will sign big man Ibou Badji to a two-way contract, per Wojnarowski.

Sarr, who was in training camp with the Blazers on an Exhibit 10 contract, had that deal converted to a two-way after impressing the team in the preseason. Around the same time, he was diagnosed with a high-grade partial tear of the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist and was ruled out for six weeks, so he has yet to make his season debut in either the NBA or the G League. It appears he’ll have to seek out a new opportunity once he gets healthy.

As for Badji, he has been playing in the G League for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s affiliate. Through seven games for the Herd, the 20-year-old from Senegal has averaged a modest 7.3 points in 35.0 minutes per contest. However, as Wojnarowski observes, Badji – who is 7’1″ with a 7’9″ wingspan – has been one of the G League’s best rim protectors, averaging 2.4 blocked shots per game.

The Blazers don’t have an NBAGL club of their own, so if they opt to keep Badji in the G League for now, he’ll have to either remain in Wisconsin or join another team’s affiliate.

Badij will be eligible to be active for up to 42 NBA games if he officially signs his contract on Friday. A player on a full-season two-way contract can be active for as many as 50 NBA games, but that limit is prorated when the player signs after the regular season has started.

Blazers’ Olivier Sarr Out At Least Six Weeks

Trail Blazers big man Olivier Sarr had his Exhibit 10 contract converted into a two-way deal last Thursday, but it doesn’t look like he’ll see regular season action for the team anytime soon. According to the Blazers, Sarr has been diagnosed with a high-grade partial tear of the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist.

After originally being diagnosed with a right wrist sprain last week, Sarr underwent further testing to determine the full extent of the injury. The team announced today that he will be reevaluated in six weeks.

Sarr, 23, spent a portion of his rookie season in 2021/22 with the Thunder, signing a pair of 10-day contracts with Oklahoma City and then receiving a two-way deal. He averaged 7.0 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 22 NBA games (19.1 MPG), with a solid shooting line of .574/.448/.828.

Sarr joined the Trail Blazers on a non-guaranteed training camp deal this offseason and beat out several other camp invitees for one of the team’s two-way slots. Rookie big man John Butler Jr. holds Portland’s other two-way deal.

Given Sarr’s strong preseason, it seemed as if he might challenge Drew Eubanks for minutes as Jusuf Nurkic‘s primary backup at center, but Eubanks is now in position to occupy that role for the foreseeable future.

Blazers’ Payton To Miss Start Of Regular Season

Gary Payton II, who signed a three-year contract with the Trail Blazers in July, won’t be available for the start of the regular season next week, the team announced today in a press release.

Payton, who underwent core muscle surgery this summer, will be reevaluated in two weeks, according to the Blazers. That means, even if he’s ready to return at that point, he’ll miss Portland’s first five games of the season.

When the Blazers first announced Payton’s procedure in September, they indicated that they expected him to be ready for opening night. That won’t happen, but the team said in today’s statement that Payton “continues to progress well” in his rehab, so it doesn’t sound like he has experienced any setbacks.

It’s possible Payton’s absence will open the door for rookie Shaedon Sharpe to play regular minutes to start the season. Wings Nassir Little and Justise Winslow should also see an uptick in playing time.

In addition to their injury update on Payton, the Blazers also put out a press release announcing that center Olivier Sarr, who was converted to a two-way deal earlier today, has been diagnosed with a right wrist sprain after undergoing an MRI. He’ll be reevaluated in one week, at which point the team should have a clearer idea of when he’ll be able to return.

Blazers Convert Olivier Sarr To Two-Way Deal

12:55pm: The move is official, the Blazers confirmed in a press release.

12:37pm: The Trail Blazers are converting Olivier Sarr‘s Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Sarr, 23, spent a portion of his rookie season in 2021/22 with the Thunder, signing a pair of 10-day contracts with Oklahoma City and then receiving a two-way deal. He averaged 7.0 PPG and 4.2 RPG in 22 NBA games (19.1 MPG), with a solid shooting line of .574/.448/.828.

The former Kentucky Wildcat played for Phoenix’s Summer League team in Las Vegas, then signed with the Blazers. He has appeared in four preseason games for Portland and seems to have made an impression on the team, sticking around while fellow camp invitees Jared Rhoden and Isaiah Miller were waived on Wednesday.

Once Sarr’s contract is officially converted into a two-way, the Blazers will have 14 players on standard deals and one on a two-way pact. I wouldn’t expect the tax-conscious club to add a 15th man before opening night, but it’s possible Portland will sign a second two-way player.

Trail Blazers Waive Jared Rhoden, Isaiah Miller

3:45pm: The Blazers have officially cut Rhoden and Miller, the team confirmed in a press release.

3:35pm: The Trail Blazers intend to waive guards Jared Rhoden and Isaiah Miller, according to Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian. Rhoden and Miller had been in camp on Exhibit 10 contracts.

Rhoden, who went undrafted out of Seton Hall in June, played for Sacramento’s Summer League teams in July before signing a training camp contract with Portland. Miller went undrafted in 2021 out of UNC Greensboro and spent the season in the G League as an affiliate player with the Iowa Wolves, averaging 12.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 32 games.

Neither player will report to the Trail Blazers’ G League team, since Portland is one of two NBA teams that doesn’t have an NBAGL affiliate.

The cuts, once they’re official, will leave the Blazers with 15 players under contract — 14 of those players have guaranteed standard deals, while Olivier Sarr is on an Exhibit 10 contract.

Fentress notes that Sarr has had a strong preseason and seems to have a strong chance to make the regular season roster, though I’d be surprised if the tax-conscious Blazers keep him on the standard 15-man roster rather than converting him to a two-way deal. Both of Portland’s two-way slots are currently open.

Contract Details: M. Morris, Vonleh, M. Hill, Blazers

Markieff Morris‘ one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Nets is non-guaranteed for now, but the veteran forward will receive a partial guarantee worth $500K if he isn’t waived on or before the first day of the regular season, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Morris’ partial guarantee would increase to $1MM if he hasn’t been cut by December 10. He would lock in his full $2,905,581 minimum salary (only $1,836,090 counts against the Nets’ cap) after the league-wide guarantee date in January, assuming he remains under contract.

Here are a few more details on recently signed contracts from around the NBA:

  • Noah Vonleh‘s one-year, minimum-salary deal with the Celtics, which is now official, includes an Exhibit 9 clause, but not an Exhibit 10. Teams generally include Exhibit 10 clauses in order to either convert a contract to a two-way deal or because they expect the player to suit up for their G League affiliate. Vonleh isn’t eligible for a two-way deal and it appears there are no plans to have him join the Maine Celtics if he doesn’t make Boston’s regular season roster.
  • Malcolm Hill accepted his two-way qualifying offer from the Bulls, Hoops Rumors has confirmed, so his two-way deal only covers one year — he’ll be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023.
  • As expected, the four camp invitees signed by the Trail BlazersDevontae Cacok, Olivier Sarr, Jared Rhoden, and Isaiah Miller – all received Exhibit 10 contracts. Portland doesn’t have a G League affiliate, so those players won’t receive Exhibit 10 bonuses, but their contracts could be converted into two-way deals.

Trail Blazers Officially Announce Four Camp Signings

The Trail Blazers have officially signed Devontae Cacok, Olivier Sarr, Isaiah Miller and Jared Rhoden, the team announced. All four players, whose deals were previously reported, received Exhibit 10 training camp deals.

Of the group, only Cacok and Sarr hold NBA experience — Cacok has appeared in 36 games in parts of three seasons with the Lakers and Spurs, while Sarr played 22 games with the Thunder last season. Miller went undrafted out of UNC Greensboro in 2021 and spent last season in the G League with the Iowa Wolves; Rhoden is an undrafted rookie out of Seton Hall.

The Blazers have an unusual roster situation for a couple of different reasons. At the end of August, they waived Didi Louzada, using the stretch provision to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $150,267,000. That left the standard 15-man roster with 14 players on guaranteed deals, but even adding a minimum-salary player would push them over the tax line, so that last spot will almost certainly remain open for now (they could sign someone later in the season if they want to, since NBA salaries are prorated).

The second reason the roster situation is unusual is because Portland is one of only two teams without an NBA G League affiliate (the Suns are the other). Ordinarily players signed to Exhibit 10 deals are earmarked as affiliate players, and assuming they’re waived before the regular season, they become eligible for a bonus worth up to $50K.

However, since the Blazers don’t have an affiliate, none of the four players will be eligible for the bonus. Instead, evidently all four will be competing for the club’s lone two-way spot that’s still open — Brandon Williams currently occupies the other. Players on two-way contracts are eligible to appear in up to 50 games, but aren’t eligible for the postseason.

Trail Blazers Signing Olivier Sarr To Exhibit 10 Deal

Free agent big man Olivier Sarr will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Trail Blazers, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 23-year-old center spent most of last season with the Thunder, signing a pair of 10-day deals starting in late December and then agreeing to a two-way contract in February. He was waived in April, four days before the end of the regular season. Sarr appeared in 22 games for OKC, making two starts, and averaged 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per night.

He took part in a Lakers mini-camp in June and played for the Suns in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Sarr’s signing will bring Portland up to 19 players, one short of the offseason maximum, with training camp about three weeks away. The Blazers also have Norvel Pelle, Jared Rhoden and Isaiah Miller on Exhibit 10 contracts.