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OKC Thunder acquire Etan Thomas in trade with Minnesota Timberwolves

Darnell Mayberry Modified: July 27, 2009 at 7:42 pm •  Published: July 27, 2009
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photo - The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired reserve center Etan Thomas from the Minnesota Timberwolves. AP PHOTO
The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired reserve center Etan Thomas from the Minnesota Timberwolves. AP PHOTO
H
e returned to the court in 2008-09 but averaged just 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in only 26 games with the Wizards after tearing his MCL in mid-January.

The Wizards sent Thomas to Wolves as part of the multi-player trade that sent this year’s No. 5 overall pick to Minnesota and Mike Miller and Randy Foye to Washington. The Thunder faced entering the season with Collison as the only experienced reserve big man behind Krstic. But the addition of Thomas gives rookies Serge Ibaka and Byron Mullens and second-year power forward D.J. White an experienced mentor and allows the Thunder to bring along its young post players slowly.

The deal also frees up another roster spot, now giving the Thunder just 12 contract players. It could allow the Thunder to explore more signings or trades this summer or during the season — possibly paving the way for Desmond Mason’s re-signing or the addition of a third point guard to play behind starter Russell Westbrook and backup Shaun Livingston.

Wilkins and Atkins were both in the final years of their contracts and weren’t in the plans going forward. Wilkins, 29, averaged 5.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 15.5 minutes in 41 games last year and grew frustrated with his role as the season went on. He seemingly would have played even less next season with the addition of No. 3 overall pick James Harden and Thabo Sefolosha returning for a full season.

Atkins was acquired in the January trade that sent Johan Petro to Denver. The 34-year-old point guard played in only 18 games for the Thunder, averaging 3.9 points and 1.7 assists in 16.6 minutes.

In a message on his Twitter account Monday night, Atkins wrote, “Good luck to all my OKC teammates and fans. Loved it.”

With the departure of Wilkins, Collison is now the only player on the roster who Presti did not draft or acquire via free agency or a trade since taking over in 2007.