The Oklahoma City Thunder are the only team under this season’s salary cap.
Oklahoma City has been circling the drain for years now, and is paying out less than $80 million in salary this season — $26 million of that to Kemba Walker, whose rollercoaster of a season for the New York Knicks appears to be on another downswing.
But next year that figure leaps to just over $102 million, mostly from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s upcoming $24 million raise. He’ll have to anchor the team for the foreseeable future, but he and Luguentz Dort appear to be capable franchise building blocks.
Nurkic and Covington would both fit well with Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort and would boost OKC’s league-worst 31 percent 3-point shooting accuracy. They’d also help the vertically challenged Thunder, whose tallest rotation player is Jeremiah Robinson-Earl at 6’8.
Sam Presti also gets an additional first-rounder to add to his overflowing war chest.
At the risk of alerting the hack writing police, I get giddy when I watch Josh Giddey. The 6’8 Australian point guard reminds me of a lesser Pete Maravich, from his square-to-the-basket picture perfect fundamentals and court vision to his lanky frame and floppy hair.
He’d be the pass-first point guard the Blazers have lacked since Raymond Felton graced the Moda Center hardwood and a fine backcourt partner for Damian Lillard, should Portland also move CJ McCollum as expected.
Favors has a player option for next season at just over $10 million and would be welcomed back at that price; far below what either Covington or Nurkic will command next year.