OKC Thunder jettison James Johnson to Mavericks

OKC Thunder trade: James Johnson #16 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder trade: James Johnson #16 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder revolving trade door for veterans continues as James Johnson exits for the Dallas Mavericks in a four-team deal.

The plot has become predictable for the OKC Thunder and any players who have more than a few years of experience. Sam Presti is bound and bent to trade every veteran on the club and any he picks up via new deals are immediately packaged in deals to go right back out the door.

If this keeps up the bespeckled front-office genius will end up owning an entire lottery worth of picks in one of the next six or seven drafts.

James Johnson joined the likes of Danny Green, Kelly Oubre, and Ricky Rubio who were part of trades to the Thunder and traded within days to another club.

Related Story. James Johnson will benefit Thunder either as mentor or trade chip. light

OKC Thunder send James Johnson to Mavericks

The revolving door is clearly part of the strategy as we noted yesterday in our James Johnson article. JJ would’ve been a great mentor for the young Thunder group. It’s likely the Mavericks also recognize his Swiss Army Knife value and how he could benefit Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

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More importantly, his expiring deal will come off the books and allow Dallas to open up salary cap room in order to go after Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Johnson was the player sent to OKC to offset the salary requirements for the Ricky Rubio draft-night deal. Like Rubio, he won’t ever don the Thunder jersey. Instead, he becomes part of a four-team trade that also includes Steven Adams heading to the Pelicans (which we’ll address separately).

As part of the deal, the players heading to the Thunder are Trevor Ariza who is challenging Luke Ridnour’s 2015 offseason when he was traded four times in less than a week. Justin Jackson also heads to OKC. The part of the deal yet to be fully determined is the “draft compensation” also heading to the OKC Thunder.

Laying out the three-team trade it’s interesting former OKC Thunder executive Troy Weaver is involved in this deal. While Presti is restructuring his roster and building draft capital, alternatively Weaver is trying to add talent and depth to his roster to make the Pistons competitive. He made a big play by adding free agent (and former Thunder player) Jerami Grant to Detroit which is a huge get considering how impactful he was for the Nuggets this past season in the playoffs.

OKC Thunder gets:

  • Trevor Ariza
  • Justin Jackson
  • Draft compensation (we’ll update as soon as we have specifics)

Dallas Mavericks gets:

  • James Johnson

Detroit Pistons gets:

  • Delon Wright

If the Presti pattern continues Ariza should expect to be packaged and traded again before the season starts.

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