Utah takes nothing back. It is making this move for two reasons: to save $2.4 million in luxury-tax money (per ESPN's Bobby Marks), and to open up a roster spot to potentially be used at the trade deadline.
To make room for Oni, the Thunder are waiving Gabriel Deck, whose $3.6M contract for 2021-22 would've become fully guaranteed on Friday, per Marks. By dumping Deck, who has appeared in just seven games this season for a total of 56 minutes, OKC will only be on the hook for $1.69M, netting a $2M savings.
More importantly, Wojnarowski also reports the Thunder plan to subsequently waive Oni, which will open up a roster spot ahead of the trade deadline. Potentially, they could use that spot to take on another dead-weight/expiring contract to acquire another future draft pick, or they could use it on two-way rookie Aaron Wiggins, who they drafted with the 55th overall pick this past July and has been splitting time between the big club and G League this season.
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
With Utah's 2028 second-rounded pick added to the war chest, Oklahoma City now owns a staggering 37 draft picks over the next five years (19 first-rounders, 18 second-rounders), including Detroit's 2022 first-round pick (via the Rockets as part of the Alperen Sengun trade), which could well end up as a top-three selection.
OKC's own 2022 first-rounder is owed to Atlanta but is protected 1-14, meaning the Thunder are virtually assured of that pick staying home. In other words, the Thunder could well have two picks in the top five of the 2022 draft.