The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Austin Rivers in a three-team deal that sent George Hill to the Philadelphia 76ers and also netted the Thunder Tony Bradley and two second-round picks. However, Rivers never reported to Oklahoma City as he and his representation worked through the next steps for him and the organization.
On Sunday, we found out what that next step is. The OKC Thunder have bought out Austin Rivers, making him a free agent and opening up a roster spot for the Thunder.
Austin Rivers is bought out well before the April 9th deadline, so he is free to join a contender and be eligible for the postseason. The veteran guard is already in high demand and even has his next destination mapped out as it appears he is on his way to Milwaukee to join the Bucks.
The Duke product never fit the Thunder timeline and was just a matching salary to facilitate the George Hill trade. Now, the Thunder and Rivers respectively get their desired outcome. With Rivers having no money owed past this year, he was an easy buy-out for the Thunder to make and allow him to join a contender. OKC earns that roster spot which they can not use to convert Moses Brown to a full NBA deal.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will likely convert Moses Brown to a full NBA contract in the coming days, while the NBA rule changes to allow two-way players to play an unlimited amount of games has in some ways eliminates the urgency to get the deal done, however why delay the inevitable?
As it stands right now, Brown will be an RFA this offseason, so OKC has the right to match any offer and retain the productive 7 footer. However, signing him now would allow the team to look at adding a new two-way contract to fill the hole left by converting Brown. This can be used on one of the many OKC Blue standouts from the G-League Bubble.
In a year of roster exploration, why not throw another dart?