Imagine an NBA roster move in which the team itself is the first to let the world know.
It’s a lost art and yet the Thunder pulled it off Tuesday with a morning press release announcing the acquisition of Justin Patton, the 16th player selected in the 2017 draft after playing a single collegiate season at Creighton and who, thanks to multiple foot injuries and surgeries, has still played in just four NBA games over the past two seasons with Minnesota and Philadelphia.
Patton is a 7-foot, 241-pound, 22-year-old center, who in his three games with the 76ers last season averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds over 6.3 minutes.
Also, in 49 G-League games, 30 of them starts, over two seasons, he has averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 blocks, playing 22.1 minutes per outing.
At Creighton, Patton averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 25.3 minutes. He made 67.6 percent of his field goal attempts and even 53.3 percent of his 3-point attempts, making 8 of 15.
According to subsequent reporting from ESPN on Tuesday, Patton’s contract is worth $5.3 million over three seasons.
A very favorable contract for the team, the first year includes just $700,000 in guaranteed salary, the second season is non-guaranteed and the third season is contingent upon the Thunder opting into it.
The recent waiving of Patrick Patterson had brought OKC's roster down to just 13 players under NBA contract, the minimum allowed by the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players union.
The same agreement mandates the league collectively average at least 14 players per roster. The Thunder are back at 14.
Also according to ESPN, Patton’s sighing puts the Thunder back beyond the luxury tax threshold by $921,000, though Oklahoma City would appear to have the flexibility to get back under the threshold before any tax bill were to become due.