The lightly productive but always entertaining Hasheem Thabeet era in Oklahoma City has come to an end.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Thunder traded its third-string center to Philadelphia for a $1.25 million trade exception. OKC also received a 2015 second-round pick in the deal, but it is heavily protected -- a phantom pick -- and will likely never make its way into OKC's hands.
With Steven Adams' emergence last season and the first round selection of Mitch McGary in this past June's draft, Thabeet became expendable. Behind Adams and incumbent starter Kendrick Perkins, Scott Brooks has become increasingly more comfortable going small, meaning Nick Collison, McGary and even Serge Ibaka can play center at times.
So it was a numbers game for Thabeet, with his departure opening up a roster spot and a bit more financial flexibility heading into the season. Thabeet was due $1.25 million next season, a contract that would have been guaranteed on Sept. 1. OKC is now around $2.9 million under the luxury tax, with its roster at 14.
In his two seasons in OKC, Thabeet became a fan favorite. The tallest player in the NBA always had a smile on his face, joking with the crowd and leading celebratory dances on the bench. But the problem was, he had a tough time getting off the bench.
Thabeet appeared in 66 games back in the 2012-13 season, averaging 11.7 minutes and 2.4 points. But last season, he was limited to only 8.3 minutes per night in 23 games, often logging a DNP, coaches decision.