Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets sealed cost saving eight-player deal

Players are often traded between teams for accommodating to the cost and to keep the competitive balance in sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rocket recently had such a trade which proved to be mutually beneficial for both teams. 

The trade included eight players in total, four from each of the teams. In exchange for Derrick Favors, Ty Jerome, Moe Harkless, Theo Maledon, and a 2025 second-round pick via Atlanta, the Rockets received David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, and Marquese Chriss from Oklahoma City. 

The Rockets and Thunder each have 18 guaranteed contracts after the transaction; by October 17, they must reduce that number to 15. There were real roster spots up for grabs as the Oklahoma City Thunder started training camp.

Apparently, three players would need to be released or traded because there are 18 guaranteed contracts on the books but only 15 spaces are open for the opening night roster. Thunder found a way to acquire assets, save money, and avoid a serious roster crunch rather than just eliminating three players during training camp.

Favors, however, has the highest contract in the deal; he is owed $10.18 million in 2022–2023. The third pick in the 2010 draft played 39 times for Oklahoma City last season, averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.

The most interesting part of this trade was that it wasn’t from a financial aspect. Basically, Oklahoma City was able to absorb Harkless’ contract after Chet Holmgren had a foot injury and for which they were granted a Disabled Player Exception (DPE).

Even while it initially appeared that the Thunder were exchanging just four end-of-rotation players for a second-round pick, the deal’s financial benefits ultimately made it worthwhile. With these transactions, Oklahoma City acquired two trade exceptions and assisted the franchise in avoiding the luxury tax by around $10 million through salary savings of about $1 million. It was a cost-saving measure that also resulted in trade exceptions that might be useful in the future. The team now has much more flexibility from both a roster and financial standpoint.

Sayma Yeasmin

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I write cause that's the only way I know to sound sane.


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