OKC Thunder offers opportunity for Mike Muscala to be big fish in free agency in 2020

OKC Thunder free agent signing Mike Muscala (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder free agent signing Mike Muscala (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Contract details for new OKC Thunder reserve forward Mike Muscala are confirmed with the presumption his second year is a player option. Moreover, a productive season could find him being a big fish in free agency in the summer of 2020-21.

So much has changed for the OKC Thunder in a matter of weeks all due to the first domino falling when Paul George basically demanded a trade to the Clippers. Although General Manager, Sam Presti could’ve chosen to deny George’s request the truth is it would have handcuffed his options.

George went public with his trade request while with the Pacers and there is no reason to believe he would have done anything different in OKC. Knowing this and that his leverage would decrease under those circumstances Presti forged ahead with the rebuild.

Subsequently, Jerami Grant was traded to the Nuggets and the OKC Thunder longest serving player and superstar Russell Westbrook was traded to the Rockets.

Given the dynamics changed so abruptly from a team who expected to compete in the Western Conference to one who may well be headed for the lottery Presti then went to the two players he recruited and signed in free agency – Alec Burks and Mike Muscala. The Thunder GM explained the circumstances and gave both players the option to seek out other potential landing spots.

Since the NBA was still in the Moratorium phase of free agency this wasn’t unusual. Burks did take up Presti on his offer but Muscala elected to stay put.

What we’ve learned since is Muscala signed a two-year deal for $4.31 million with what is presumed to be a player option in the second year. Michael Scotto of the paid for subscription The Athletic provided the confirmation in his tweet (above).

This means if Muscala delivers for the OKC Thunder he’ll opt out this coming summer and re-enter free agency. The 2020-21 crop of free agents crop is far less appealing than this summer’s group which featured numerous top tier talents.

This means if Muscala puts up great numbers (specifically from the perimeter) he could find himself in demand next summer.

In his best season (2016-17) from the perimeter, Muscala registered 41.8 percent from deep. Granted, those stats were achieved in just 1.6 attempts. The goal this season for the big man will be to get up multiple attempts and do so while hitting with efficiency.

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While he won’t be among the top tier talents the fact so few of the elite players are free agents in 2020 and with the emphasis on perimeter snipers makes Muscala’s value skyrocket if he can deliver a strong campaign.