The Thunder could be on the verge of picking up a little something for Kevin Martin.
Oklahoma City on Wednesday moved closer to completing a sign-and-trade deal with Minnesota that would net the Thunder a sizable trade exception.
Under a proposed deal reported by ESPN.com, the Thunder would sign Martin and immediately trade him to the Wolves. In a related but separate deal, the Wolves would send point guard Luke Ridnour to Milwaukee.
The jockeying, which Oklahoma City has tried hard to orchestrate since the start of free agency on July 1, allows the Thunder to get value for Martin rather than watch him walk for nothing. Martin had already agreed to a four-year deal with the Wolves reportedly worth $28 million.
A trade exception is a valuable tool that offers teams an opportunity to make a future trade without having to match salaries. The value of the trade exception would be roughly $6.6 million and would be available to the Thunder for a year from the day the deal is completed.
The most notable example of how a trade exception can be used can be seen in a pair of deals Thunder general manager Sam Presti pulled off while in Seattle in 2007.
Presti orchestrated a sign-and-trade with Orlando that sent Rashard Lewis to the Magic. In return, the then-Sonics received only a future second-round pick and a $9.3 million trade exception.
One week after Lewis joined Orlando, Presti then used much of the trade exception to acquire veteran center Kurt Thomas from Phoenix along with first-round picks in 2008 and 2010. The 2008 selection turned into Serge Ibaka. The 2010 selection ultimately was packaged along with another pick and became Cole Aldrich.
DANIEL ORTON: ‘I FEEL FINE'
Two days after leaving a game with what ultimately was diagnosed as a mild concussion, Thunder center Daniel Orton said he's healthy and ready to return to the court.
“I feel fine,” Orton said Wednesday. “Everything's all right. I still got to take another test on the computer (Thursday) to make sure everything's all right. I should be able to (play). We'll see coming back from the test, the results.”
Orton was held out of games on Tuesday and Wednesday after bumping heads with teammate Reggie Jackson during a game Monday. Both players had to exit the game.
Orton was averaging 12 points and 5.5 rebounds before sustaining the mild concussion.
NEW FORMAT ADDS COMPETITIVE ELEMENT
Under the summer league's new scoring system, teams are awarded three points for winning a game and one point for winning each quarter. If the teams are tied at the end of a quarter, both teams earn 0.5 points.
Through four days, the Thunder has earned 20 points, good enough for first place in the standings. The two teams with the most points will play in the championship game on Friday.
“We're all competitive so I think it's making everybody want to win,” said Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb. “Even though it's a summer league playoff it's still important. You always want to win, so I think that's bringing this competitive spirit.”
Although the Thunder is in first place going into Day 5, OKC no longer controls its own destiny.
The Thunder already has played four games and will now have Thursday off. Miami and Utah, meanwhile, both play Thursday and, with 14 points, can surpass the Thunder if they both earn seven points Thursday.
Utah plays Indiana at 10 a.m. Miami plays Detroit at noon.