What trading Ryan Gomes means for the Oklahoma City Thunder

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Ryan Gomes (Photo credit: Alonzo Adams/AP Photo)

The Oklahoma City Thunder parted ways with eight year NBA veteran Ryan Gomes in a three team deal today with the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies. Gomes, who was the last Thunder player to make the original roster, signed a one year deal with Oklahoma City after spending a year playing in Germany for the Artland Dragons. He was averaging 1.2 points in four appearances so far this season.

In the deal, the Celtics acquired point guard Jerryd Bayless from the Grizzlies and Gomes from the Thunder, who they immediately waived. The Grizzlies received guard Courtney Lee and a 2016 second round draft pick from the Celtics. In parting with Gomes, the Thunder got a 2017 conditional second round draft pick from Memphis, as well as the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2014 second round pick that the Grizzlies owned. Bayless is expected to fill a gap at point guard until Rajon Rondo returns from injury. Memphis absorbs the two-year, $11 million contract of Lee in the hopes that he can provide some needed perimeter shooting after losing Quincy Pondexter for the season to a foot injury.

Perhaps most interesting is the Thunder piggybacking onto the trade. The Thunder freed themselves of the scarcely used Gomes’ veteran minimum contract and now have about a $2.3 million cushion underneath the luxury tax line. With this space and two open roster spots, you have to wonder if general manager Sam Presti is going to try to pull off a trade.

Rumors have linked the Thunder to potentially pursuing Andre Miller, who has clashed with the Denver Nuggets coaching staff after he logged his first career Did Not Play – Coaches Decision. Miller is a highly respected player and could certainly find time with Russell Westbrook’s injury, but it might become difficult when Westbrook returns and time must be split between him, Miller, veteran Derek Fisher and young standout Reggie Jackson.

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The Thunder have not made a habit of signing players who may cause trouble, and acquiring Miller would certainly do that. It also means the likelihood of Fisher staying in OKC is highly unlikely. Adding Miller would, however, give the Thunder a ball-handling point guard (something that Fisher has not been for most of his career), who would take some of the ball handling load off of Jackson’s shoulders.

Another possibility is shopping Thabo Sefolosha. The incumbent starting shooting guard has not played up to his standards offensively and especially defensively this season. With Jeremy Lamb emerging as not only a floor spacing scorer, but also as an all-around threat defensively, passing and on the glass, Thabo’s days in Loud City could be numbered. The Thunder will not be able to afford his contract next season, and could try to maximize their profits now as opposed to later. A few ideas for younger players to look at are Iman Shumpert, whom the New York Knicks have been rumored to be shopping, and Gary Neal, who the Milwaukee Bucks could trade to further tank.

One potential trade that would fit into the team salary would be a three way trade to acquire Shumpert. If the Bucks and Knicks got involved, the Thunder could receive Shumpert from the Knicks and Ekpe Udoh’s expiring $4.5 million contract from the Bucks. Milwaukee would receive Sefolosha from the Thunder and Raymond Felton from the Knicks. New York would get Gary Neal from the Bucks and either Hasheeem Thabeet or Perry Jones III from the Thunder. Draft picks would obviously have to be involved in this trade, and with Oklahoma City not usually willing to part with those, this trade is highly unlikely. It is, however, possible from a salary standpoint and not all that unrealistic.

Sam Presti is no doubt up to something, potentially looking to make a move that will help the Thunder come playoff time. Even if he does not pull the trigger on a trade, getting two second round picks for the seldom-used Gomes is a great move, and even better given Presti’s resume of successful scouting for the draft. Thunder fans will have to wait to see what the ultimate plan is, but rest assured that Presti will do whatever he can to make the Thunder more competitive.

Read more Thunder rumors, news and opinion on our Oklahoma City Thunder page

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