The Oklahoma City Thunder swung a pre-draft trade with the Denver Nuggets to kick off the offseason in the midst of the Nuggets’ NBA Finals series. This was a move for the OKC Thunder to elongate their asset window and helps kick the can down the road for when the franchise will need cost-controlled talent.
The OKC Thunder have shipped the 37th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the least favorable of their 2024 First Round picks (via Rockets, Jazz, Clippers, and Thunder), and a future second-round pick (2024) for the Denver Nuggets First Round in 2029. This currently leaves the Oklahoma City Thunder with picks 12 and 50 in the 2023 NBA Draft.
What player benefits the most from the OKC Thunder making their latest trade with the Denver Nuggets?
The Oklahoma City Thunder traded their 37th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, which was high enough to warrant a standard NBA contract. Prospects typically do not begin taking two-way contracts until the 40s, which would have presented a roster crunch for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Instead, all that is cleared away if Sam Presti wants it to be.
The team’s first-round pick will fill in the slot left behind by impending free agent Dario Saric, assuming the team does not re-sign the veteran big man. The 50th overall pick will, without question, slot into one of the three two-way spots on the roster under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
It certainly seems that Sam Presti is comfortable with this group of players to roll into the 2023-24 NBA season with. With the obvious disclaimer that buying back into the top of the second round is incredibly easy, and the Thunder are in the top five in the league in cap space with the offseason just underway, this seems to bode well for the OKC Thunder players on the roster bubble.
Lindy Waters III benefits the most from this trade on the Oklahoma City Thunder roster. Waters III had the easiest roster spot to free up mechanically for Sam Presti. In order to move on from Waters III, the OKC Thunder could just decline the Oklahoma State product’s team option.
As of now, there would be no reason to do that. The OKC Thunder have maintained that they seriously like the home-grown wing, and the pathway to keeping him got a little cleaner after Friday’s trade.
Obviously, there is a long way to go in this offseason, and things can and will change on a dime. For now, Lindy Waters III is the big winner from Sam Presti’s latest trade.