Noticeably absent from the Thunder's summer league roster is a 7-foot-3 center who recently agreed to join Oklahoma City.
But that doesn't mean Hasheem Thabeet will not compete for the Thunder in this week's Orlando Pro Summer League.
Thabeet can't officially sign his new multiyear contract offer from the Thunder until Wednesday, when the league's free agent moratorium is lifted. Until then, he is not contractually a member of the Thunder.
That, of course, doesn't prohibit Thabeet from playing. Ten of the 14 players on OKC's summer league roster aren't under contract with the Thunder. But those 10 aren't two days away from inking a binding agreement that comes with guaranteed money. It would be too much of a risk for Thabeet to play Monday and Tuesday without having his contract squared away.
It's possible, though, that Thabeet signs his contract Wednesday morning and suits up for the Thunder's final three games in Orlando.
Thabeet is expected to join the team in Orlando this week, and he is likely to participate in practice sessions throughout the week. If he does sign Wednesday morning, there won't be anything stopping Thabeet from joining the team.
Few players need court time more than Thabeet, which is why it seems likely he will compete at some point this week. Over the past two seasons, Thabeet has played just 512 minutes. Thunder guard Reggie Jackson, by comparison, logged 501 minutes in just his rookie season. And in splitting time with Houston and Portland this past season, Thabeet played just 139 minutes — 74 fewer than Kevin Durant did in the five-game series with Miami in the NBA Finals.
While missing the first two days is not ideal — especially with the Thunder opening against Boston and former Syracuse center Fab Melo — the final three days would provide plenty of time for Thabeet to get in some good work.
If Thabeet does play Wednesday, he could potentially go head-to-head with Andre Drummond, the former UConn center who was selected ninth overall this year by Detroit. Drummond has enough size and even better athleticism to give Thabeet a good test to set the bar for the rest of his summer. Then, on Friday morning, the Thunder is scheduled to play Utah. In Enes Kanter, last year's No. 3 overall pick, the Jazz also have a big man who can challenge Thabeet and provide both the player as well as all interested parties an adequate summary of where Thabeet stands.
First, that contract has got to get signed.