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Thunder Silent at Trade Deadline, Focus Turns to Buyout Market

For those waiting on Sam Presti to pull yet another rabbit out of his hat at today’s NBA trade deadline, there’s certainly some disappointment in the air now that 2:00 PM CST has come and gone. For the second season in a row, the Thunder made no noise on deadline day — and will now turn their gaze to the buyout market.

Oklahoma City was rumored to be in the trade market for wing players with the ability to shoot the basketball, but nothing materialized on a day that saw a flurry of action around the league. Though fans had dreams of Nikola Mirotic (now a Buck), Alec Burks (a Rocket), Taurean Prince (still a Hawk), and others, the truth is that OKC was short on assets and not in great position to make a big splash. The hope is that Andre Roberson will return to full strength prior to the postseason, and/or that rotational pieces will become available as a buyout before March 1’s deadline.

Here’s the latest on some names we’ve seen pop up as potential buyout options:

Wesley Matthews

Matthews has been a popular name among Thunder fans this week, but it looks like that dream is over before it started. He’s reportedly headed to Indiana — where he figures to take on a large role for a playoff-bound Pacers team.

Wayne Ellington

Ellington was traded from Miami to Phoenix yesterday, and is reportedly working with the Phoenix front office on a buyout. Though his name was linked to OKC by ESPN’s Ian Begley, the Thunder won’t be alone in pursuit of the 31-year-old sharpshooter:

Ellington feels like one of the more realistic options at this point. He’d make an impact — just don’t know if OKC will be at the top of his list.

Enes Kanter

I can’t imagine a scenario where bringing back Big Turkey would be the best basketball decision…. But, hey, he’s available:

And some more names that seemed destined for the buyout market — though, not all make sense for the Thunder in any capacity:

  • Zach Randolph
  • Ben McLemore
  • Marcin Gortat
  • Garrett Temple
  • JaMychal Green
  • Michael Beasley
  • Ropin Lopez
  • Shelvin Mack
  • Milos Tedosic
  • Frank Kaminksy
  • Corey Brewer (Don’t count him out)
  • More soon, I’m sure

Again — players must be released by March 1 in order to appear on another team’s postseason roster, so the buyout market could remain fluid here in the short term. The silver lining is that the Thunder as they stand right now have won eight of nine games and are currently third in the Western Conference. They’ve bought themselves the time necessary to weigh out the options.

More to come as things develop.