The Thunder has waived forward Ryan Bowen, the team announced today.
Bowen made the roster as the team’s 15th man after beating out Mike Harris, Michael Ruffin and Tre Kelley in training camp for the final spot. It was clear since October that Bowen could be waived at some point if a better option came along or the Thunder needed to fill the 15th spot with a player who filled a pressing need.
Well, with injuries to reserve guards Kevin Ollie (knee), Shaun Livingston (knee) and Kyle Weaver (shoulder), the Thunder now has a pressing need. Starter Russell Westbrook is the only healthy point guard on the roster. And while James Harden is capable of manning the point position, and Kevin Durant and Jeff Green can bring the ball up the court, OKC would walk into Friday’s nationally televised game against Milwaukee without an experienced playmaker if a move is not made. That’s why I expect a move to be made soon, perhaps no later than Friday morning.
It’s unclear who the Thunder might be targeting or whether the team’s preference is a trade or free agent contract. The likely approach seems to be signing a player to a partially-guaranteed deal so that when Ollie, Livingston and Weaver return that player can easily be waived. A 10-day contract is out of the question at this point because, under Collective Bargaining Agreement Rules, teams can’t sign players to 10-day deals until Jan. 5.
History suggest if the Thunder makes a move it will be for a veteran guard who can provide a steady hand behind Westbrook as opposed to a young, inexperienced player who can be rattled. The Thunder brought in Chucky Atkins last season and Ollie last summer hoping they would fit that bill. The usual suspects this time around are free agents Jacque Vaughn, Antonio Daniels, Brevin Knight and Keith McLeod.
Bowen appeared in just one game for the Thunder. He scored four points and grabbed two rebounds in eight minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.