3 Players the OKC Thunder can afford to trade: 3 they must protect ahead of NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA Trade Deadline will be a hot topic for OKC Thunder fans, and there are three players the Thunder can afford to trade and three they must keep.

Dec 2, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski (17) warms up
Dec 2, 2023; Dallas, Texas, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski (17) warms up / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Davis Bertans, F/C, 9 games played, 17 million dollars

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired Davis Bertans on Draft Night back in June as the price for moving up two spots to nab Cason Wallace from the Dallas Mavericks with the 10th overall pick.

Bertans was a cap causality in Dallas, but for Oklahoma City, he represents a matching salary that can potentially facilitate a trade. With Bertans and OKC agreeing to a contract alteration, it unlocks even more value for Bertans on the trade market.

While his cap number sits at 17 million this year, and technically 16 million dollars next year, the Thunder (or a potential team acquiring Bertans) can waive him for five million dollars this offseason, avoiding the heavy cap deduction.

Given his lack of true impact on the defensive end and the fact you can only play him in short spurts as a shooter, at this point in his career, the contract chess piece is Bertan's more interesting basketball asset.

The future of the Latvian sharpshooter comes down to Sam Presti either finding a trade to fit him into or waiving Bertans this summer. So it should be no surprise he finds himself on this list.