The Oklahoma City Thunder announced their training camp roster on Wednesday ahead of their first preseason action on Saturday, December 12th in San Antonio. Nothing is very surprising about the crop of guys if you have been following along all throughout this wild offseason. An offseason that leaves 2018 second-round pick, Hamidou Diallo, as the longest-tenured OKC Thunder player.
If you have not been able to keep up with Sam Presti, who is making moves at the speed of light, click here for the entire 2020 Thunder training camp roster. The important thing to note is that the Thunder need to rid themselves of three players to get down to the 17 player maximum (Including Two-Way contracts) that the NBA requires.
So how do the Thunder make it down to that 17 player mark? Let’s start with the locks on this team. The players that without a doubt will be on the Thunder roster come December 23rd.
Guards: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Ty Jerome, Frank Jackson, Theo Maledon, Hamidou Diallo, and George Hill.
Wings: Aleksej Pokusevski (Yes, Coach Mark Daigneault confirmed to those of us in the Media, Poku has been running with the wings at training camp), Josh Hall (Two-Way), Justin Jackson, Darius Bazley, and TJ Leaf.
Centers: Al Horford, Mike Muscala, and Moses Brown (Two-way).
That is already 15 locks for the 17 player limit.
Fringe players: Trevor Ariza*, Admiral Schofield, Isaiah Roby, Kenrich Williams, and Darius Miller.
Trevor Ariza is an interesting piece in all of this. He is away from the team right now for the same Family matters that hindered him from joining his team in the Bubble a few months ago. His expiring contract and the Thunder’s affinity for the young players on the roster bubble might make him an interesting buy-out option. Ariza is only owed 12.8 Million dollars this season and would present no long-term dead cap space. While many would want to trade Ariza, if Presti can only snag a second. round pick for Ariza, what is the difference in a future second vs whatever a roster bubble guy could produce and begin growing now?
My Roster Projection:
Guards: SGA, Lu Dort, Hamidou Diallo, Theo Maledon, Ty Jerome, Frank Jackson, and George Hill.
Wings: Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski, Justin Jackson, TJ Leaf, Isaiah Roby, Admiral Schofield, and Josh Hall (Two-way).
Centers: Al Horford, Mike Muscala, Moses Brown (Two-Way)
My projection has the Thunder waiving: Darius Miller ($7 Million), Trevor Ariza ($12.8 Million), and Kenrich Williams ($2 Million) None of these players would be owed money beyond this season.
The Thunder have made it clear that they really like Admiral Schofield by all accounts, Mark Daigneault raved about the second-year player earlier this week, so him getting a spot feels pretty safe to me. Where I went against the grain was sparing Isaiah Roby, who most of Thunder Twitter has already written off.
Isaiah Roby is only a year removed from signing the largest contract for a second-round player ever when the Mavericks selected him with the 45th pick out of Nebraska. Dallas then traded Roby to Bricktown for Justin Patton and the Thunder spent last year developing Roby and allowing him to rehab from an injury he sustained in the G-League.
To keep both Admiral Schofield and Isaiah Roby along with the locks, it left Darius Miller who is recovering from a torn Achilles out in the cold. Kenrich Williams is another consensus cut around Thunder Twitter, which I agree with despite his NBA upside.
The two difference I see between my projections vs many others is buying-out Trevor Ariza instead of waiving Isaiah Roby. We will know our answer soon enough, but for now, it is certainly fun to speculate. What is your roster predictions?
You can listen to Locked on Thunder, the only daily podcast about the Oklahoma City Thunder, anywhere you get your podcast to hear my Roster Projections 1.0, and 2.0. This article is my third and final projection for this season.