The Thunder got down to its final 15-man roster Saturday by waiving center Daniel Orton, guard Andy Rautins and forward Hollis Thompson.
“All three of them were very good,” coach Scott Brooks said. “They really gave us a great showing in camp. They made my decision very tough. It's not easy to do. Obviously, we couldn't keep 18 guys. … I would not be surprised if they were all back in the NBA soon. They were all good in their own way and they all brought something very unique to the table.”
Guard DeAndre Liggins filled the lone available roster spot and joined rookie forward Perry Jones III and free agent center Hasheem Thabeet as the only newcomers to this year's team, which opens the regular season Thursday at San Antonio.
“With DeAndre, we felt that his size, his athleticism, his defensive toughness is something we are intrigued with and we like,” Brooks said of the 6-foot-6, 209-pound Kentucky product, who spent last season with the Orlando Magic. “He brought it every day in practice. Every game we threw him in there, he made something happen. He's a rebounder, he's a defender and he plays with a lot of toughness.”
The 22-year-old Orton, who starred at Bishop McGuinness High School and spent two seasons with the Magic, appeared in one preseason contest for the Thunder, finishing with 13 points (5 for 6 from the field) and three rebounds in 19 minutes.
“There's always a chance,” Brooks said when asked if he feared another NBA team acquiring the 6-foot-10, 255-pound Orton. “They're in this position because they're right there to be an NBA player. … He's a talented guy with great hands, a big who can play.”
Rautins played in four games and averaged 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 11.5 minutes. Thompson was in three games and averaged 2.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 9.7 minutes.