It took a little while longer for the Thunder to land Morrow because the team was in a holding pattern while waiting on Gasol to decide which team he would join. When it became clear Friday night that Gasol was leaning another way — he’s expected to soon sign with Chicago — the Thunder moved swiftly to secure Morrow.
Unlike other teams operating with more desperation, the Thunder’s all-in pursuit of Gasol came with a side benefit of the market settling. OKC ultimately avoided the pitfall of overpaying for a role player.
Detroit, by comparison, splurged $6 million a year for three seasons on Jodie Meeks. Orlando opened up the wallet and gave Ben Gordon $5.5 million a year for the next two years. Indiana will pay C.J. Miles $4.5 million a year over the next four years. Memphis handed 37-year-old Vince Carter $4 million per season over the next three seasons.
Morrow, in terms of shooting, has been more consistent than them all.
It was the third shrewd move of the summer for the Thunder, which has quietly and responsibly upgraded its roster without overhauling the core with sweeping changes.
In the draft, the Thunder continued to layer its roster by landing Mitch McGary, a much-needed backup power forward who eventually will replace Nick Collison. McGary will earn approximately $1.3 million in his first season and, as the 21st pick, already has shown an all-around skillset in his debut summer league that could someday make him a steal.
A week later, the Thunder netted a third-string point guard when it agreed to a non-guaranteed, one-year deal with veteran Sebastian Telfair. If he makes the team, Telfair will make the minimum for a player with his years of service, also about $1.3 million.
Blockbuster acquisitions they are not. But the Thunder already has its star power firmly in place. Other teams, remember, simply are playing catch-up.
Oklahoma City had but three needs this offseason, and in a little more than three weeks the Thunder filled those with three players who combined will earn roughly $5.9 million next season.
That’s still less than the Pistons are paying Meeks.