In the latest move of the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade Patty Mills to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for TyTy Washington, Usman Garuba, Rudy Gay and a second-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
This is already the third time that Mills has been traded in the last 10 days, He was first sent from the Brooklyn Nets to the Houston Rockets, then shipped from the Rockets to the Thunder, before now being re-routed to the Hawks. And the veteran point guard may not be settled yet, as it remains unclear if the Hawks will keep him for the entire season.
First and foremost, this is a money-saving move for the Hawks. ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted earlier this summer during a live draft show that the front office is under a mandate to get under the luxury tax line and sending out three players for Mills saves the Hawks $4.5 million.
In theory, Mills could help them as a veteran off the bench behind Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Even at this stage of his career, he's a strong outside shooter and takes care of the ball. Whether they want to pay $6.8M for an aging backup remains to be seen, however, and the Hawks could look to move him on and fill that position in a different manner if a contending team is interested in adding Mills.
For the Thunder, this is a no-brainer. They get to take a look at Washington and Garuba, who are both recent first-round picks. Washington went No. 29 overall in 2022, and spent last season with the Houston Rockets, where he played 31 games. Garuba, meanwhile, was the No. 21 pick in 2021 after an exciting start to his professional career in Spain, and also played with the Rockets.
Neither has done much of note in the NBA, but they also haven't gotten much of an opportunity on the floor either. Perhaps a change of scenery will help, and the Thunder have one of the better player development programs in the league. If neither works out, the Thunder don't lose anything.
Plus, if keeping a veteran presence around in the locker room was important to the Thunder, they simply swapped Mills for Gay in this deal. And, for their trouble, they added another second-round pick to their war chest as they continue their rebuild. All told, this was a smart low-risk, high-reward deal by Sam Presti.