After a season that saw them finish sixth in the Western Conference with a 49-33 record and get eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Portland Trail Blazers, the Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly planning to make some moves to avoid paying a hefty luxury tax bill. As a new tweet suggests, the team has made three key contributors, including starting center Steven Adams, available in trade discussions.
In a Twitter post shared on Wednesday, Sports Illustrated‘s Jake Fischer tweeted that Adams, point guard Dennis Schroder, and wingman Andre Roberson are now “very available at the moment,” having been placed on the trading block as Oklahoma City tries to shed salary and get below the luxury tax threshold. As Fischer added, the Thunder are also planning to include their No. 21 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, possibly as a sweetener to any potential deals that may involve the aforementioned veterans.
According to Spotrac, the Thunder are currently more than $16.5 million over the luxury tax threshold, which translates to an estimated tax bill of approximately $50.4 million. For the 2019-20 season, Adams is set to earn $25.8 million, while Schroder and Roberson will be paid $15.5 million and $10.7 million respectively, per the terms of their existing contracts. None of the three, however, will be making as much as Thunder superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George, who will be earning a combined $71 million in the coming season.
Among the three Oklahoma City players who are reportedly on the trading block, Steven Adams could attract a lot of attention from rival NBA teams, as he averaged a solid 13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game in the 2018-19 campaign. NBC Sports Bay Area suggested that the Sacramento Kings — who are reportedly searching for help at the center position — could trade for Adams, who excels as an offensive rebounder and defender and has the intangibles to potentially help Sacramento’s young core “on and off the court.”
A former Atlanta Hawks first-round pick, Dennis Schroder successfully transitioned from a starting role in Atlanta to sixth-man duties in Oklahoma City after he was traded to the Thunder in the summer of 2018. Last season, Schroder averaged 15.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in only 29.3 minutes per game, starting 14 out of the 79 games he played in, per Basketball-Reference.
Lastly, Andre Roberson missed the entire 2018-19 NBA season due to a knee injury but had started the prior four seasons for the Thunder as a shooting guard and small forward, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page. The 6-foot-7-inch wingman isn’t much of a scorer — he has a career scoring average of just 4.6 points in 22.5 minutes per game — but has been far more valuable to Oklahoma City as a defensive stopper on an otherwise high-scoring team.