On Friday, the Thunder announced that they have waived SF/PF Admiral Schofield and PF/C T.J. Leaf.
The 23 y/o Tennessee product had begun his NBA career with the Washington Wizards, as he had bounced around all season between the G-League and the Wizards. In his 33 NBA with the Wizards he averaged 3 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.5 assists 11.2 minutes.
Schofield was traded to the Thunder in a draft night deal that netted the Thunder the rights to No. 37 pick Vit Krejci and Schofield, for the No. 53 pick which resulted in Cassius Winston, and a future 2nd.
The appeal with Schofield has always been his shooting and his unique build, as his 6’5″ 240 pound frame is a rarity amongst NBA players. This frame gives people some real hope that he had some defensive upside.
For Admiral Schofield, he hardly put up any numbers in the preseason. In his 26 minutes for the Thunder, he put up 0 points (0-3 FG), 2 rebounds, and two assists.
There is a real case he had a lack of opportunities to showcase his talent. He was on the active roster for Friday’s game, yet he was never given any time on the court. Maybe they had already seen enough from Schofield in his first two games to decide his fate with the team.
T.J. Leaf’s path to the Thunder is very similar to Schofield’s. Leaf was selected 17th by the Indiana Pacers back in 2017. After having three underwhelming seasons with the team he was dealt off in a trade sending Leaf and a future second for Jalen Lecque, who was acquired in a previous trade.
In Leaf’s three seasons with Indiana he posted averages of 3.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 8.7 minutes a game.
The main selling point with the 23 y/o Leaf was his ability to be a stretch four, being a career 34% from three. His other appeal, height, at 6’10” he could’ve played minutes at both the Power Forward and Center positions, which the Thunder desperately needed.
Many were under the impression Leaf was here to stay, as he had $4.3M guarenteed in his contract. But his underwhelming performances in his two preseason games put him in a difficult spot. He posted averages of 4/3.5/0 shooting 33% from the field (1/2 from 3.)
Both players are now looking for new homes just days before the start of the regular season, but do not be surprised if teams show interest early on for both players.
As of now the Thunder roster sits at 18 players, with 16 of those being full scale NBA contracts. The team will need to narrow their NBA level contracts to just 15 before the start of the season, meaning there’s more moves on the way.