OKC Thunder: Thunder roster might change after all

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.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 23, 2014

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.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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