The Oklahoma City Thunder have made the two most predictable roster transactions at the deadline. After shipping George Hill to the 76ers in a two-for-one swap to the city of brotherly love, the Thunder had to create a roster spot.
To make that roster spot, the Thunder waived Meyers Leonard, who was acquired in the Trevor Ariza trade that sent Ariza to the Miami Heat. Leonard sent shockwaves through the Thunder fanbase due to the horrendous things he said on a Twitch stream, but the organization from the word go assured us they would get Meyers out of OKC as soon as possible.
They did. The NBA Trade Deadline was always the date for a Meyers Leonard move, his salary number could’ve helped facilitate another deal as it helped Miami get Ariza, since it did not he is gone via a release. This is was always the expected outcome.
As the roster is now back down to 17 players (including the two-way deals), the Thunder does not have to make another move this year. (As we broke down the roster here)
However, the question of if Austin Rivers will ever log a minute for the Thunder is still up in the air. Rivers, could take the “Not with the team” designation and keep the tradition alive as the torch was passed from Trevor Ariza to Meyers Leonard, and now possibly to Austin Rivers.
A case can also be made to play Rivers or release him. Releasing him would be a goodwill move for the veteran guard, and also open up a roster spot to ink Moses Brown to a full-NBA contract.
Meyers Leonard’s career is likely over, as the Thunder move on from the deadline with their team for the rest of the year. Sam Presti did what he had to do on the front end and the back end of this move, and handled it well being in front of the story this entire time, including in the team’s official press release explicitly stating Leonard would never be in Oklahoma City and staying true to his word.