OKC Thunder roster prediction 1.0 ahead of Training Camp

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder join teammates as they dump water on Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Aaron Wiggins #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder join teammates as they dump water on Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have an overflowing roster, with training camp just a few weeks away. It will not be long until the entire roster files into Bricktown for Media Day to tip off another season as October approaches. With a 21-player roster, the Thunder must waive three players on standard contracts before the regular season opener.

This is commonplace for the OKC Thunder. Sam Presti loves filling the Thunder roster to the brim ahead of training camp, and this time, it presents the Bricktown boys with a unique opportunity.

Since this rebuild began, Sam Presti has discussed the format and shape he hopes it takes. Part of the plan has been to build a talent-rich roster so that training camp becomes a great internal battle while acknowledging and being comfortable with the fact that “some players are going to be left behind.”

Training camp is set up this season to have a ton of internal competition to help prepare the OKC Thunder for the upcoming season. After all, Iron sharpens Iron, as they say.

OKC Thunder roster prediction 1.0 ahead of 2023 Training Camp; who gets left behind?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are staring down the barrel of their most anticipated season since 2017. With a genuine Superstar, a pair of top-ten picks set to debut, and a young core that helped the franchise make a 16-win leap a season ago, Bricktown has a lot of optimism.

One of the storylines that will swarm the squad leading into the regular season is trying to crack the code on who will stay and who will go. The young core is in place, and the starting lineup seems set, but who will round out the roster?

With three standard contract players needing to be waived, the OKC Thunder have five players on the chopping block. They each have vastly different seat temperatures. Tre Mann, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Davis Bertans, Jack White, and Victor Oladipo are all squarely on the bubble.

There will be debates that wage on throughout training camp and after about the right move for Presti to make. There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding his choice to waive TyTy Washington, Rudy Gay, and most notably, Usman Garuba to this point. I will never forget the day Presti waived Garuba, aka baby Shaq, in the eyes of the Thunder fanbase.

Ultimately, these moves will be insignificant to the big-picture vision of the Thunder. If Mark Daigneault’s squad is overly leaning on any of these players currently on the bubble, something has gone wrong with the plan on paper.

However, some moves are easier than others. Take Victor Oladipo, for example; short of saving him for a future trade, there is little to no reason to leave him hanging around Bricktown. He ranks as the first of the three cuts.

Another easy move is saving Davis Bertans from the bubble. While his presence makes things puzzling for the Thunder moving forward, contractually, it makes more sense to keep the veteran forward.

That leaves Jack White, Tre Mann, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. While his summer signing was a bit of a surprise, Jack White makes the most sense of this trio to get waived, given the financial aspect and role redundancy that he presents. This would not be the first time Presti has waived a Summer Signee before his first regular season game with the Bricktown boys.

There is an argument to be made that Tre Mann is the one who gets the axe, though likely not in an outright waive. The former first-round pick will get the benefit of the doubt both locally and around the NBA for that simple tagline. With some teams lacking guard depth, Mann could be an interesting buy-low trade piece for other NBA teams while alleviating some of the Thunder’s roster headache.

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the player on this chopping block that most of the Thunder fanbase has soured on. His 1.9 million dollar price tag makes it easy for the fans to justify moving on from the former second-rounder who had a disappointing Sophomore season. There is something to be said, though, for his leadership and ability to connect this team off the floor that might be taken into account as roster cutdown day looms in the middle of October.

Roster Prediction 1.0 cuts: Jack White, Victor Oladipo, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

Ultimately, Tre Mann is a player that the franchise invested in with a first-round pick and holds more upside than any of the three players axed in this prediction. Jack White and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl play a redundant role with other, better, rotational pieces on the roster. Victor Oladipo can rehab and try to hook on with a contender.

The OKC Thunder roster crunch might be as simple as whether the Thunder or Tre Mann want to explore a trade before the start of the season?

While that is a realistic option, given the best path to more NBA minutes for Mann is likely elsewhere, on a team with less depth at his position, as of now, I think he will stick around.

We will release roster predictions after Media Day, before the first preseason game, and after the final preseason tilt. Bookmark Thunderous Intentions and check back for constant coverage of the OKC Thunder!

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