The signing of Royal Ivey last week put the Thunder at 16 contract players, one more than NBA rules permit teams to carry into the regular season.
That means someone must go.
Mo Peterson will be 33 next month but can still contribute on the court and has earned a reputation in his 10 seasons of carrying a first-class attitude away from it. Don't expect Peterson to be waived.
Daequan Cook, 10 years younger than Peterson, provides much of the same assets and essentially is on a one-year trial run as a 3-point specialist in OKC. Cook figures to be on the opening-night roster as well.
Since the Thunder's coaching staff and front office is pleased with the returning nine-man rotation, and No. 11 overall pick Cole Aldrich is entrenched in the long-term plans, that leaves Byron Mullens, D.J. White and Kyle Weaver as the most likely candidates to be on the outside looking in.
Mullens has shown the most development of the trio and, as an athletic 7-foot center, is a rare commodity that the Thunder isn't likely to throw away after only one season. White is another big man who can provide rebounding and court spacing with his mid-range shooting ability. And so it appears Weaver could be the last man standing, possibly squeezed out of a fast-developing roster.
The question is how exactly will the Thunder proceed?
The easiest thing for the Thunder to do could be to waive Weaver or whomever it might be that is caught in the numbers game. But when have we known Thunder GM Sam Presti to take the easy route?
It's possible that Presti could turn an out-of-the rotation player into a future asset. While it sounds like a long shot, by now it's safe to believe the Thunder will explore every option. And if there is a logical trade to be made it will be done.
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