OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder are moving wing player Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash considerations to the Chicago Bulls per Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Thunder receive a protected 2020 second round pick from the Bulls.
Sources: Chicago is finalizing a trade to acquire Oklahoma City's Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and cash considerations.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 1, 2019
This opens up a roster spot for the Thunder, who already had a spot open prior to this move. With Thursday’s trade deadline looming and the franchise’s history around this time of year, it is safe to assume that this could be a predecessor for more transactions in the next week.
Oklahoma City saves $7.3 million towards their luxury tax and earns a $1.5 million trade exception in the move. They already have a $10.8 million dollar trade exception from the Carmelo Anthony trade last summer. The Thunder’s luxury tax bill — which prior to the Anthony trade was at an NBA record $149million — has now dropped to $66.15 million.
The Thunder still have two-way contracts in Donte Grantham and Deonte Burton. Both are eligible to be upgraded to a full-time roster spot, but only Burton would be a realistic move for that process. Grantham has not logged a single minute since being upgraded to a two-way deal in late-December.
With two roster spots open, one of the two players could be upgraded in addition to another possible addition to the roster if the Thunder choose to do so.
Wes Matthews Whispers
There is traction around the league that Oklahoma City is eyeing the potential buyout of former Dallas Maverick/current New York Knick Wesley Matthews. The 10-year veteran was traded from Dallas to New York yesterday in the Kristaps Porzingis for Dennis Smith, Jr. trade.
For those who are interested. Wes Matthews 2018-19 numbers:
-6 3FG attempts at 38%, shooting 41% overall w/ an eFG% of 52%.
-Routinely ranks towards the bottom of the Dallas roster in many defensive per 100 possession numbers, but has success in steals (1.3 per 100 poss.)
— Brady Trantham (@BradyDoesSports) February 1, 2019
Players with the skills that Matthews possesses have always intrigued the Thunder. Despite a hot-shooting month, the Thunder still sit in the bottom half of the league in three-point shooting. Matthews would help in that regard if he is bought out and the Thunder go that way.
Former Thunder Player Status
The Bulls used this trade to help the process of buying out Carmelo Anthony. This comes 85 days since he and the Houston Rockets mutually parted ways — also the day after Anthony played his last game, in a 1-for-11 performance in Oklahoma City.
The move was always a part of the plan when Houston and Chicago worked on the trade a few weeks ago. It will allow Anthony to become a free agent.
Only the Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in signing the former All-Star wing/forward. LeBron James is a good friend and has always wanted to have Anthony on the same team.
There is always the possibility that a larger trade could be on the way for the Thunder. If he is bought out by New York, it is not a guarantee that Matthews ends up in Oklahoma City. Other teams like Philadelphia and Golden State are always buyers on the buyout market.
Names like Terrance Ross from Orlando, Trevor Ariza from Washington (considering their recent moves), JR Smith from Cleveland and Kent Bazemore from Atlanta will be hot amongst buyout rumors.
The Thunder have been mentioned of being in the market for another big. During the most recent stretch of games that Nerlens Noel missed due to a concussion, Oklahoma City’s need for an emergency big became paramount. With Steven Adams missing the Thunder’s most recent game on Tuesday in a win against the Magic, the thought will continue to be out there.