Darius Bazley given a much needed reset as OKC improves their team

Darius Bazley #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Darius Bazley #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Darius Bazley to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday afternoon in exchange for a second-round pick and veteran stretch big man Dario Saric. The OKC Thunder have made the long-awaited move of giving the former first-rounder a much-needed change of scenery.

Things did not work out in Oklahoma City; Darius Bazley never found a suitable offensive role, no matter if that was by his doing or the position he was put into, but he did carve out a great defensive niche as a high-level switchable defender who can guard one through five.

As Bazley sits months away from restricted free agency, the writing was on the wall for the former New Balance Intern. Getting back Dario Saric after shipping off Mike Muscala hours earlier is a huge win for Oklahoma City, as long as the plan is to keep Saric for the remainder of the season. This is Sam Presti yet again crafting a deal with a front office he is very familiar with.

The Oklahoma City Thunder trade Darius Bazley to the Phoenix Suns as it ends a polarizing tenure.

Look, if you have read or listened to my work before, it is a poorly kept secret how biased I am in favor of Bazley. Even tabbing him as Building Block Bazley during the NBA Bubble playoffs. However, it was time for both sides to move on and see what Bazley can do away from Bricktown.

Now, the Thunder only have two members from the last team that made the NBA playoffs (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort), with Dort edging out SGA as the longest-tenured Thunder player by mere days.

With the Suns acquiring Kevin Durant in the middle of the night, and now Darius Bazley this afternoon to provide some defensive insurance on a flyer deal, Pheonix is obviously in prime position to be a Championship contending team. By all accounts, Bazley and Suns point guard Chris Paul was close during Bazley’s rookie season, which could help the still 22-year-old get back on track.

This move just swapped one expiring contract for another, and Saric falls into the same category as Bazley would’ve. There is no expectation that Saric will be retained past this summer, but in the meantime, he could help OKC after they dealt Mike Muscala to the Celtics.

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