OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder have waived point guards Isaiah Canaan and Semaj Christon, the team announced Saturday.
The move finalizes OKC's roster at 14 and leaves the Thunder with only two full-time point guards, Russell Westbrook and Raymond Felton, as they approach their Oct. 19 opener against the New York Knicks. Teams can hold as many as 15 guaranteed players on a roster at one time.
Neither the Christon or Canaan moves come as a surprise. Moving forward with only 14 allows for extra roster flexibility, whether that means taking back two players in a trade for one or lending the team the ability to sign a free agent, while also helping out a tad monetarily. It’s one less player that the Thunder, who could pay around $25 million in luxury tax fees this year, have to employ.
Christon cycled in and out of the backup point guard role last year, ending the season as Westbrook’s second stringer. The at-the-time rookie leapt fellow backup point guards Cameron Payne and Norris Cole at different points throughout the season and finished the year averaging 2.9 points and 2.0 assists in 15.2 minutes.
His non-guaranteed contract was supposed to become guaranteed in July, but he and the team mutually agreed to push the guarantee date back to Oct. 15.
Canaan, meanwhile, has played previously for the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. The Thunder signed him as a training camp invitee just before the start of the preseason.
Though carrying only two point guards is unconventional, new rules allow the Thunder to be a bit less paranoid about the strategy. The team has rookie and 2016 second-round pick Daniel Hamilton signed to a two-way contract, meaning it can recall him from the G-League for up to 45 days during the regular season. He does not count as one of the Thunder’s 14 guaranteed players. Teams can sign up to two two-way players, who must have fewer than three years of NBA experience to be eligible for the contract. The Thunder’s other spot is open.
Teams had until Saturday to finalize their rosters.
• Other moves: The Thunder also waived forward Chris Wright and Yannis Morin on Saturday, the team announced.
The cuts came only three days after signing both Wright and Morin, who could be destined for the Thunder's G-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.
Morin spent this summer with the Thunder's Orlando Summer League team, playing in all five games and starting one of them. Wright was an OKC training camp invitee last year and played and played for the Blue after getting waived.
• Injury update: Power forward Patrick Patterson went through non-contact practice once again Saturday. He is yet to go through a full-contact practice during his rehabilitation from the arthroscopic surgery he underwent on his left knee in early August.
Patterson will likely slot in as the Thunder's sixth man once he is cleared to play. The team has not released a timetable on his return.