5 Potential buyout candidates the Oklahoma City Thunder should target

Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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No. 4: Joe Harris, Small Forward

The Detroit Pistons took back a number of players on Trade Deadline day, which meant they had to cut a few of their current players to make room. One of those casualties was veteran wing Joe Harris, a 3-point bomber who had struggled to find his rhythm amidst injuries and a lack of playing time in Detroit.

We discussed more in depth here why Harris would be a great addition to the roster. He can step in for Isaiah Joe if needed, and overall his shooting would be valued in a number of potential lineups. If he can stay healthy and regain his rhythm he could be a rotation player by the playoffs; more likely he helps in a few games and then is valuable depth on the wing the rest of the time.

No. 3: Killian Hayes, Point Guard

The 2020 NBA Draft appeared to be absolutely loaded with primary ball-handlers. Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball at the top were seen as elite prospects, while Tyrese Haliburton slipped to the end of the lottery but was still seen as a solid player whom many had in their Top-5 (and obviously has proven to be a Top-3 player in the class). That list also included French point guard Killian Hayes, a player some draft pundits had as high as No. 1 overall on their draft boards.

Hayes ultimately went No. 7 overall to the Detroit Pistons and has failed to develop into anything more than a bench guard over the past three-plus seasons. The Pistons ended up waiving Hayes to make room for other trades, placing the 22-year-old guard on the open market.

Hayes is a solid defender and decent playmaker; the real obstacle to his development into a rotation guard is his shot, and that led The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor to suggest the Thunder, and shooting coach Chip Engelland, as an ideal landing spot.

The Thunder have a loaded rotation and depth outside of it, so they don't have to use both of their open roster spots on veterans. They could give Killian Hayes a shot and play him heavy minutes with the Oklahoma City Blue, then give him a robust offseason development regimen. If he shows promise by training camp, they may have gained a valuable young guard. If not, they can move on before the season.