Thunder Rumors

Eric Moreland Headed To China

Center Eric Moreland has agreed to a contract with the Chinese team Shanxi, according to Alessandro Maggi of Sportando.

Moreland spent the preseason with the Thunder, who waived him last week.

The 27-year-old Moreland spent time last season with the Suns and Raptors but only appeared in five games. He saw action in 67 games the previous season with the Pistons, backing up center Andre Drummond.

Overall, he has played a combined 83 games for the Kings, Pistons, Suns and Raptors over the past five years.

2019 Offseason In Review: Oklahoma City Thunder

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2019 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2019/20 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Oklahoma City Thunder.



  • Acquired the draft rights to Darius Bazley (No. 23 pick) and the Grizzlies’ 2024 second-round pick from the Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to Brandon Clarke (No. 21 pick).
  • Acquired the Nuggets’ 2020 first-round pick (top-10 protected) from the Nuggets in exchange for Jerami Grant.
  • Acquired Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Heat’s 2021 first-round pick (unprotected), the Clippers’ 2022 first-round pick (unprotected), the Heat’s 2023 first round pick (top-14 protected), the Clippers’ 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), the Clippers’ 2026 first-round pick (unprotected), and the right to swap first-round picks with the Clippers in both 2023 and 2025 from the Clippers in exchange for Paul George.
  • Acquired Chris Paul, the Rockets’ 2024 first-round pick (top-four protected), the Rockets’ 2026 first-round pick (top-four protected), the right to swap 2021 first-round picks (top-four protected), the right to swap 2025 first-round picks (top-10 protected), and conditional cash ($1MM) from the Rockets in exchange for Russell Westbrook.
    • Note: The Rockets would only owe the Thunder $1MM (and a 2026 second-round pick) if the 2026 first-round pick falls in the top four.

Draft picks:

  • 1-23: Darius Bazley — Signed to rookie contract.

Draft-and-stash signings:

  • Devon Hall (2018 draft; No. 53 pick) — Signed to two-way contract.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Lost assistant coaches Darko Rajakovic, Bob Beyer, and Mark Bryant.
  • Hired Brian Keefe, David Akinyooye, Dave Bliss, Mark Daigneault, and Mike Wilks as assistant coaches.
  • Named Grant Gibbs head coach of G League affiliate (Oklahoma City Blue); named Eric Maynor assistant coach for G League affiliate.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Over tax line by approximately $921K.
  • Carrying approximately $132.46MM in guaranteed salary.
  • $4.1MM of taxpayer mid-level exception still available ($1.62MM used on Justin Patton).

Story of the summer:

In a span of one week in July, the Thunder’s long-term outlook was flipped on its head, due primarily to a free agency decision made by a player who was neither leaving nor joining the franchise: Kawhi Leonard.

When the free agent period opened on June 30, the Thunder immediately pursued and agreed to deals with low-cost veterans like Mike Muscala and Alec Burks, a signal that the club was focused on filling out its roster with complementary role players around its stars. However, around that same time, Leonard – the top free agent on the market – was convincing Thunder forward Paul George to request a trade to the Clippers, which would allow the two superstars to team up in their hometown of Los Angeles.

The Thunder, presumably recognizing that this was their best chance to maximize George’s value before he went public with his desire to leave Oklahoma City, acquiesced to his trade demand and extracted a massive haul from the Clippers.

At that point, reloading around Russell Westbrook was a still a possibility, but with so many free agents and trade targets already off the market, it would have been a tall task for OKC to acquire the pieces necessary to contend in 2019/20.

Instead, general manager Sam Presti and the front office dove headfirst into the rebuild, acquiring several more first-round draft picks by sending Westbrook to Houston and forward Jerami Grant to Denver. However, that was about as far as the Thunder could get on the trade market, since veterans like Chris Paul and Steven Adams have oversized contracts that will make them difficult to move for positive value.

That leaves the club in a tough spot. With players like Paul, Adams, Danilo Gallinari, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the way, this is a roster capable of winning some games. But the best thing for the Thunder’s rebuild might be to slide even further down the standings in order to secure a top pick in next year’s draft.

It will be fascinating to see if the Thunder are aggressive in their efforts to further shake up their roster and launch a genuine, full-scale rebuild over the course of the 2019/20 season. Given the veteran talent already on the roster and all the assets the club could dangle in search of upgrades, the front office may feel as if fully bottoming out is unnecessary and instead opt for a brief retooling period.

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Thunder Sign, Waive Barefield, Edwards, Jack

3:49pm: As expected, the Thunder have now waived Barefield, Edwards, and Jack, the team announced in a follow-up press release. OKC’s roster is back down to 16 players, including a pair on two-way contracts.

9:36am: The Thunder are making some last-minute roster moves to line up players for their G League affiliate, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed guard Sedrick Barefield, as well as forwards Vince Edwards and Kadeem Jack.

Barefield, an undrafted rookie out of Utah, averaged 16.8 PPG and 3.8 APG with a .408/.388/.825 shooting line in 31 games (32.2 MPG) in 2018/19, which was his final college season. He played for Atlanta’s Summer League team in July.

Edwards, a 2018 second-round pick, spent his rookie year on a two-way contract with the Rockets. He averaged 9.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 31 games (30.6 MPG) for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, appearing in just two games for Houston.

Jack, a former Rutgers forward, is a G League veteran, having appeared in a total of 129 games for a handful of NBAGL squads. He last played for the South Bay Lakers early in 2018/19.

It appears as if the Thunder should be able to designate all three signees as affiliate players for their own G League team – the OKC Blue – since Jack was waived by South Bay last season and the other two players have never signed NBAGL contracts. All three will likely be released by the Thunder shortly.

Thunder Exercise Options on Gilgeous-Alexander, Ferguson

The Thunder have exercised their 2020/21 options on point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and swingman Terrance Ferguson, according to a team press release.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s option for 2020/21, which will be his third season in the league, is worth approximately $4.14MM. Ferguson’s fourth-year option is worth $3.94MM.

Oklahoma City had until the end of this month to exercise those options.

Gilgeous-Alexander had a strong rookie campaign with the Clippers and was the key component for OKC in the Paul George blockbuster. He averaged 10.8 PPG and 3.3 APG while appearing in every regular-season game.

Ferguson started 74 games last season and averaged 6.9 PPG in 26.1 MPG. The 21-year-old was the team’s first-round pick in 2017.

Thunder Waive Four Players

The Thunder trimmed their roster this morning by placing DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, Abdul Gaddy, Myke Henry and Eric Moreland on waivers, the team announced in a press release.

The moves indicate that Justin Patton, who has been limited by injuries to a combined four games in his first two NBA seasons, has won the 14th roster spot. Oklahoma City may not carry a 15th player because of salary cap concerns. The 16th pick in the 2017 draft, Patton signed with OKC in August and had a $700K guarantee on his $1,620,564 contract.

Of today’s four cuts, Moreland is the only one with significant NBA experience. He played a combined 83 games for the Kings, Pistons, Suns and Raptors over the past five years. Henry appeared in 20 games for the Grizzlies in 2017/18, while Akoon-Purcell got into seven games with Denver last year. Gaddy was also cut by the Thunder in training camp last season.

Roberson Still Being Brought Along Cautiously

Thunder swingman Andre Roberson hasn’t played in an NBA game in nearly two years, and while he had been cleared to practice without restrictions earlier this offseason, OKC is continuing to be cautious with the defensive stalwart, pens Erik Horne of The Oklahoman.

Roberson still hasn’t played in the preseason, and when asked about it, Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said on Monday, “We’re not going to rush him.” Moreover, for the last week, Donovan said Roberson has been participating with the team, but not all of the contact drills, after having some soreness in camp.

“If he felt like he needed more game experience, I think that’s an option for him, but I think as long as we’re in training camp and (the Thunder are) playing five-on-five, he’s getting that there,” Donovan said. “The one thing we don’t want to do is put him in a situation where we’re making him practice every single day and he can never catch up from a recovery standpoint.”

Heat Place High Value On Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo

Miami had talks with the Thunder on at least two occasions this offseason, discussing Russell Westbrook – before OKC dealt him to Houston – and Chris Paul. Sean Deveney of hears that the Heat were reluctant to include Tyler Herro in that deal or any deals over the summer.

They’ve been firm on him and (Bam) Adebayo being untouchable,” one GM told Deveney. “Maybe they would move off of that as the season goes on, but as it stands, they think they’ve got the second coming of Klay Thompson offensively. They have not had a lot of useful guys on rookie contracts in past years and that’s killed their cap. They’ve got two now, they don’t want to let them go.”

Herro was the No. 13 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Adebayo, who is set to take over the team’s starting center spot, was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 draft. Both players give the franchise hope for the future and are long-term building blocks on a roster that has the necessary pieces to compete for the playoffs now.

Yet, in order for the Heat to take the next step toward title contention, they may have to acquire another established star (such as Bradley Beal). Miami will have trouble putting together a legit trade package worthy of one without including their young prospects since the team already owes a pair of first-round picks to Oklahoma City and can’t deal another first-rounder earlier than its 2025 pick.

Darius Bazley Ready To Contribute

As Thunder forward Darius Bazley continues to acclimate to the NBA, he may be little nervous, as is normal for a rookie. But as Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman writes, Bazley looks more than ready to make an impact this season.

That said, Bazley will still certainly have ups and downs as a rookie, as head coach Billy Donovan warns. Thunder fans saw the same last year with Hamidou Diallo, who eventually fell out of the rotation toward the end of the season.

“My biggest thing for him is, as he learns and grows and gets better and has some success, he needs to stay really, really humble,” says the Thunder head man. “And he’s got to stay eager to work and eager to learn. He’s got all the challenges, the difficulties, the adversities that come with being a young player. He’s going to have to have the resiliency to work through those things. If he keeps that kind of attitude, he’s going to really improve.”

Woj: OKC Hoped To Flip CP3 After Acquiring Him

  • The Thunder‘s plan when they acquired Chris Paul from Houston was to flip him to another team, according to Wojnarowski, who says OKC had hoped the Heat would be more open to making a deal. “He’s going to have to play really well in Oklahoma City for somebody to want to take on three years, $124MM [and] pay him $44MM in the final year of his contract,” Woj said of CP3. “That’s a really difficult proposition. … He has value in the league, but not at those numbers.”


Northwest Notes: Porter, Okogie, Green, Thunder

In a piece chronicling the first NBA game for Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., Nick Kosmider of The Athletic explains how Porter’s debut ended up being a long time coming after the 21-year-old had to rehab through two back surgeries and miss his entire first season as a professional.

In the team hotel the night before Porter’s debut, Tim Connelly, Denver’s president of basketball operations, encouraged Porter to let each frame of his debut experience sink in, notwithstanding the fact that it was just a preseason game.

“I told him, ‘You should really pat yourself on the back,'” Connelly said. “It’s not easy to do what he’s done. He’s been a guy that, forever, the assumption was that he was going to play in the NBA because he was so talented, but the road has been a little more convoluted and challenging, so I said, ‘Appreciate the moment. You’re officially in the NBA. It wasn’t how you thought it would be three or four years ago, but it’s still special.'”

Teammate Jarred Vanderbilt, who is close with Porter and helped him throughout the rehab process and beforehand, had some good advice for his friend.

“I know how tough it was for him to sit out, like it was for me, but he sat out the whole year,” Vanderbilt said. “It was a lot tougher for him, so it’s just great to see him playing again. I told him, ‘Don’t put any pressure on yourself. Just be happy to be out there.’ That’s how I was. I was just happy to be out there. I know how it feels to be not able to play. To come back and feel all antsy like you have to make the right play and everything, I felt like I was doing that and thinking too much, so I just told him to let the game come. Everything will fall into place.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie, who is entering his second season in the NBA, was able to improve his game this summer by playing in the FIBA World Cup as a member of Team Nigeria, writes Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. Specifically, Okogie believes he has gotten better mentally. “My experience was great playing overseas. One reason being, it forced me to think the game.”
  • As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune notes, we may see some new tricks from Jazz newcomer, veteran forward Jeff Green, as his ever-expanding skill set could prove crucial for the team this coming season.
  • The Thunder rolled out a starting lineup that included Chris PaulShai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dennis Schroder in their latest preseason game, perhaps signaling the team’s plan to use multiple point guard rotations throughout this season. Tim MacMahon of ESPN has the story.