The Oklahoma City Thunder are facing a roster crunch, with 18 players they’re legitimately interested in keeping for next season. They’ll need to trim the roster down to 15 by the end of camp, meaning cuts or trades will need to happen.
If the Thunder opt to make a trade to free up roster spots, Darius Bazley could be a sneaky candidate.
He’s a player that actually has some value on the trade market and is due for a new contract. Trading Bazley would make sense on multiple fronts for Oklahoma City, in clearing a roster spot, gaining assets and avoiding a difficult decision on a new deal.
Last season with the Thunder, Bazley was solid as a whole but extremely inconsistent. As a shooter, there would be games in which he looked like a key piece of the core and others where he was hard to keep on the floor.
The 6-foot-8 prospect averaged 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game while playing great defense. In fact, he was the only player in the NBA last season more blocked shots (70) than fouls (68).
Bazley is set to make roughly $4.3 million next season before a potential qualifying offer in the 2023-24 season. As such, OKC has big decisions to make. Could the Thunder opt to trade him away for a player they could simply waive to give another young prospect on the current roster a chance?