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The Game Theory Podcast recently had an episode with the host Sam Vecenie and guest Danny Leroux where both discussed potential offseason moves they suggest the Oklahoma City Thunder should think about.
The most common move they suggested included the Thunder absorbing bad contracts with draft assets attached to them. The argument behind it is that the Thunder finished the 2021-22 season with the lowest team payroll and by a significant margin at just $82 million — for context, the 29th ranked Memphis Grizzlies had a payroll of $117.3 million.
While it makes sense on paper that a rebuilding team with the lowest team payroll would welcome being the dumping ground for bad contracts if they received draft picks in return, a multi-year contract is a heavy pill that I doubt Thunder ownership and general manager Sam Presti want to swallow. Especially if the team wants to start contending in the near future.
Presti noted it during his exit interview, but the team wants their books as clean as possible in time for the 2023 CBA negotiations. Adding a multi-year contract onto the books for a player that is most likely on the decline is the opposite of that and would limit the team’s financial flexibility.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the players Vecenie and Leroux suggested during their pod when discussing potential offseason moves for the Thunder.
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
2022-23: $37.6 million (30 years old)
2023-24: $39.3 million (31 years old)
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
2022-23: $16.9 million (28 years old)
2023-24: $18.2 million (29 years old)
2024-25: $19.4 million (30 years old)
2025-26: $19.9 million (31 years old) on an early termination option
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2022-23: $47.1 million (34 years old) on a player option he will most likely pick up
Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
2022-23: $11.2 million (29 years old)
2023-24: $12 million (30 years old)
2024-25: $12.9 million (31 years old) on a player option