What you see might not be what you get.
Just because the NBA's trading deadline came and went last Thursday without the Thunder making a deal doesn't mean Oklahoma City's roster will remain the same.
Because it's buyout season, and that means veteran players who, for one reason or another, haven't panned out elsewhere could be on the move.
Teams have until Saturday to waive players in order for them to be eligible for playoff rosters.
This, and not the trading deadline, is the last chance for the Thunder to bolster its roster with quality and capable talent before embarking on a potential championship run.
And there could be some intriguing options on the market this year.
The biggest is Danny Granger, the former Indiana forward who was traded to Philadelphia just before the deadline. An All-Star performer in 2009, Granger has battled back from major knee injuries and is looking to rejuvenate his career. But the question only he can answer is where he prefers to do that?
San Antonio and Miami have been rumored to be landing spots, with the Clippers being a possibility as well.
Each of those three locations might offer Granger more of the one precious thing he likely wouldn't see as much of in Oklahoma City — playing time.
Minutes, and not money this time, stand as the Thunder's biggest obstacle in luring a player who is bought out. Because bought-out players typically receive minimum salaries while still being paid a portion of their previous contracts, the Thunder is on a more level playing field when it comes to contract offers. But a prominent role is something OKC can't offer, and that alone could prevent the franchise from reeling in a noteworthy player in the buyout aftermarket.
Derek Fisher, for instance, was a rare case. He first arrived in Oklahoma City midway through the 2011-12 season after being bought out by Houston. With the Thunder, he found a perfect mix of playing time and championship potential, as he averaged 20.4 minutes that season and helped the Thunder journey to the NBA Finals. But Fisher said bought-out players must have the right mindset to join and subsequently excel on already successful teams like the Thunder.
“You immediately realize that they're bigger than you are individually,” Fisher said of championship-caliber teams. “And often times guys, I think, are better able to sacrifice and check their ego at the door because they know they're fortunate to be in a situation where they're getting a chance to maybe be on a team that maybe has a chance to win a championship.”
For some, that might not be the case.
Granger and Ben Gordon, another player the Thunder could target if Charlotte finalizes a buyout, both will turn 31 in April. They both are in the final year of their contracts and could seek the most opportunity possible to prove they're worthy of one last big contract.
Another option for the Thunder could be Roger Mason, who, at 33, no longer is playing for long and lucrative deals. But as a career 38.3 percent 3-point shooter, Mason could be the consistent perimeter threat the Thunder is missing. Sacramento is expected to soon release him after acquiring him from Miami at the deadline.
The trickiest part about buyout season for a team like the Thunder, though, is adding a player and fitting him in without giving up anyone. Oklahoma City already is working Russell Westbrook back in, which reduces minutes for other players, while other talented players are finding it difficult to crack the rotation as it is. Unlike a trade, where a player often goes out, minutes aren't being freed up by someone's departure.
Therefore, much of the Thunder's decision-making will be about determining not just which player is the best available, but also which player is the best fit for what the team can offer.
But with two open roster spots, as well as a little wiggle room under the tax line thanks to Ryan Gomes' trade to Boston earlier this season, the Thunder could be a player in buyout season after sitting out this year's deadline dance.