TI Notebook: Thunder exercise options, set roster, extension deadline

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter against the Adelaide 36ers at Paycom Center on October 06, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter against the Adelaide 36ers at Paycom Center on October 06, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

There is a cool crisp in the air today, the coffee tastes better, and everyone is excited for the NBA to be back with the Oklahoma City Thunder will tip off their 2022-23 regular season on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is again that time of the week for the Thunderous Intentions notebook for all the news or tidbits you might have missed throughout the week!

This past week the Thunder wrapped up a 5-1 preseason slate, exercised a trio of contract options, saw the extension deadline come and go without a deal for their 2019 first-round pick, and got their star point guard back.

The Oklahoma City Thunder finish the preseason 5-1, set their roster, make contract moves, and get healthy ahead of the regular season

The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up their preseason slate with a 5-1 record with a ton of standout performances along the way. Now, OKC has set their 17-man roster for the start of the season by waiving David Nwaba, Marquese Chriss, and Trey Burke after inking Isaiah Joe to a multi-year deal over the weekend.

Isaiah Joe has shown some real tools at the NBA level, granted all on extremely small sample sizes, but Joe did credit, Vince Rozman, for why he landed in OKC. Rozman was part of the 76ers front office that drafted Joe in 2020, and OKC lured him away from Philly this summer to join Sam Presti’s staff.

Isaiah Joe was also a high school teammate with the rookie big man and 34th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Jaylin Williams. They both went on to attend the University of Arkansas at different times.

Joe stands 6’4 at 23 years old but he scores at the rim at a 64 percent clip, which ranks him in the 75th percentile for his position. Granted, that is on just 11 attempts as it is hard to get on the floor as a young second-round player for the contending 76ers.

In the short mid-range, Joe shot 57 percent, which ranks in the 95th percentile at his position. Perhaps his biggest strength is his perimeter shooting nailing 39 percent of his corner triples, and 36 percent of his threes overall last season.

Oklahoma City also exercised their team options on Aleksej Pokusevski, Josh Giddey, and Tre Mann keeping them all under contract for the Thunder for the 2023-24 NBA season. This is a standard practice just something OKC had to trigger in their rookie deals at this time.

Another deadline that passed was the rookie extension deadline for 2019 first-round draft picks, and Darius Bazley saw 5 p.m. on Monday roll around without a shiny new contract in hand. Bazley, Cameron Johnson, P.J. Washington, Grant Williams, and Rui Hachimura all fell into the same boat of not getting that contract extension.

Darius Bazley will now play out the 2022-23 NBA season as a member of the OKC Thunder and hit restricted free agency during the summer. Sam Presti typically does not let played hit restricted free agency, we recently saw Hamidou Diallo have the best stretch of his career leading into his RFA summer, and was dealt to the Pistons mid-way through the year for Svi Mykhailiuk.

Who knows how this will pan out, but I for one will not give up on Darius Bazley just yet. His role seems more defined now than ever before as a rim-rolling big that can swat shots and play elite versatile defense.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will officially be ready to play in the OKC Thunder season opener on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Gilgeous-Alexander suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain that held him out of the entire training camp and preseason portion.

This means Oklahoma City will be at full strength, besides Chet Holmgren who is out for the year with a right foot injury, according to bench boss Mark Daigneault. With 16 players healthy, Daigneault will have to make a ton of interesting calls on the rotation of this squad.

This week: The Thunder play the Timberwolves on Wednesday in Minnesota at 7 p.m. on Bally Sports Oklahoma, the Denver Nuggets in Denver on Saturday at 8 p.m. on Bally Sports Oklahoma, and hold their home opener on Sunday at 7 p.m. also against the Wolves. The NBA G-League Draft also takes place on Saturday.

Song of the Week: Tennessee Jed, Grateful Dead.

Next. 5 bold predictions for the OKC Thunder. dark