Saturday, January 22, 2022

Thunder-Jazz trade: OKC adds another future draft pick to war chest; Utah saves $2.4M and opens roster spot

This will not shock you to hear, but the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for another future draft pick on Tuesday, acquiring Miye Oni along with a 2028 second-round pick from the Utah Jazz.  

Utah takes nothing back. It is making this move for two reasons: to save $2.4 million in luxury-tax money (per ESPN’s Bobby Marks), and to open up a roster spot to potentially be used at the trade deadline. 

To make room for Oni, the Thunder are waiving Gabriel Deck, whose $3.6M contract for 2021-22 would’ve become fully guaranteed on Friday, per Marks. By dumping Deck, who has appeared in just seven games this season for a total of 56 minutes, OKC will only be on the hook for $1.69M, netting a $2M savings. 

More importantly, Wojnarowski also reports the Thunder plan to subsequently waive Oni, which will open up a roster spot ahead of the trade deadline. Potentially, they could use that spot to take on another dead-weight/expiring contract to acquire another future draft pick, or they could use it on two-way rookie Aaron Wiggins, who they drafted with the 55th overall pick this past July and has been splitting time between the big club and G League this season. 

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With Utah’s 2028 second-rounded pick added to the war chest, Oklahoma City now owns a staggering 37 draft picks over the next five years (19 first-rounders, 18 second-rounders), including Detroit’s 2022 first-round pick (via the Rockets as part of the Alperen Sengun trade), which could well end up as a top-three selection. 

OKC’s own 2022 first-rounder is owed to Atlanta but is protected 1-14, meaning the Thunder are virtually assured of that pick staying home. In other words, the Thunder could well have two picks in the top five of the 2022 draft.

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