Grading the OKC Thunder’s 2023 offseason additions

The Oklahoma City Thunder had a busy first couple of days of free agency.

It started off on Friday night when they completed a trade with the Miami Heat to acquire the injured Victor Oladipo’s $9.5 million expiring salary and two future second-round picks.

On Saturday, the Thunder finally landed international superstar Vasilije Micic after years of teasing with a three-year deal. Later that day, the Thunder also added Jack White to a two-year deal after spending last season with the Denver Nuggets on a two-way contract.

Barring something dramatic, this should relatively end the Thunder’s notable offseason moves. The Thunder will likely carry the allowed 20 players on standard deals into training camp and let them battle it out for the 15 spots.

With that said, let’s look at all of the new Thunder additions and give them a grade. For the draft edition of grading the selections of Cason Wallace and Keyontae Johnson, click here.

Vasilije Micic: A+

Sam Presti finally caught his white whale.

After years of flirting, the Thunder finally convinced Vasilije Micic to make the NBA jump with a three-year, $23.5 million deal. The contract details aren’t fully known yet, but regardless if there’s an option, it’s still a quality deal for OKC — especially considering what other veteran guards made this offseason.

The 29-year-old exits Europe after a decorative career highlighted by a 2021 EuroLeague MVP and two EuroLeague championships in 2021 and 2022. Since being drafted 52nd in the 2014 draft, Micic has developed into one of the best players in the world that was previously not in the NBA.

Micic is viewed as more of a traditional point guard who can facilitate his teammates with a legit scoring game that includes the ability to shoot from 3. Everything about his game looks translatable to the NBA — which should excite Thunder fans.

Now, the Thunder enjoys the fruits of his labor by acquiring him right in the middle of his prime. With the addition, OKC bolsters its depth and adds someone who could legit be a top-seven rotation piece on an extremely friendly salary by the end of the season.

Even if things don’t work out with Micic for whatever reason, he should be easily moveable as he’s already garnered interest from several teams over the last three years. His team-friendly contract should make him even that much more attractive to potential suitors if it comes down to it.

There’s really no downside to this move and it should be viewed as a home run for the Thunder.

Victor Oladipo: C-

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

This is a cool off-court story as the Thunder welcome back someone who indirectly helped get them to where they’re currently at with their young core.

After one season in OKC, Victor Oladipo was shipped to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George — who would subsequently bring the Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a plethora of draft picks.

Oladipo credited his stint with the Thunder as a turning point for his career, as he earned All-NBA honors with the Pacers before injuries hampered him.

Taking the nostalgia glasses off for a second, this is a pretty meh move for the Thunder. Oladipo — who suffered a torn patellar tendon in late April — will likely spend most, if not all, of next season rehabbing his injury.

Even though there’s reported optimism that Oladipo returns next season, the Thunder are sadly familiar with the complications and setbacks a torn patellar tendons are usually associated with.

This specific injury along with Oladipo’s injury history — he hasn’t played more than 42 games since 2017-18 — make me extremely pessimistic when it comes to predicting him actually playing a game for the Thunder next season. In fact, it’s more likely OKC just buys Oladipo out.

This means the Thunder essentially bought two second-round picks from the Heat for $9.5 million — which isn’t superb value but isn’t an overpay either. The fact that both picks are reportedly in 2029 and 2030 makes them that much more attractive due to them being so far away. The Thunder also sent back a second-round pick in exchange, but the details of that pick are currently unknown.

Overall, the Thunder had cap space to kill and they chose to utilize it by adding draft picks. For an expiring salary of less than $10 million, OKC did alright.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This is cheating a little bit as Davis Bertans was acquired on draft night in the Cason Wallace trade with the Dallas Mavericks, but the deal still hasn’t been made official yet so I’ll slide his addition into this.

The trade itself is a huge win for the Thunder as they secured Wallace by using their cap space to move up two spots.

Bertans is owed $17 million next season and owns an early termination option for the 2024-25 season of potentially $16 million. An important caveat to add is only $5 million of his $16 million for 2024-25 is guaranteed — the remaining $11 million depends if he surpasses a 75% games played threshold for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

Something tells me Bertans won’t meet that as OKC will likely rest him to avoid potentially giving him an additional $11 million for the 2024-25 season. It will force Bertans’ hands to likely decline his option as he’d make $5 million instead of $16 million.

With that said though, I expect Bertans to stay with the Thunder as he is the healthier of the two veterans OKC absorbed for draft capital this offseason. He had a down year last season, but he still shot 39% from 3 on 3.1 attempts. If he can replicate that with the Thunder in a smaller role, he’ll be a fine addition.

Jack White: D-

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Thunder continued to make moves as they signed Jack White to a two-year deal. It reportedly isn’t a two-way deal either, which is what he was on with the Denver Nuggets last season.

White totaled 66 minutes in 17 games with the Nuggets last season. He went undrafted in 2020 and spent three years in the NBL. White joins fellow Austrlians Josh Giddey.

I’m not really a huge fan of this deal — especially if it’s a standard deal instead of a two-way spot. While it likely is for little money, it feels like a waste of resources for a 25-year-old that isn’t really an NBA talent.

The Thunder will face a roster crunch this upcoming training camp and White should be one of the first players on the chopping block. Perhaps he can join the OKC Blue if it doesn’t work out with the Thunder.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire

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