ESPN Senior Writer Adrian Wojnarowski broke the trade deadline first domino late Wednesday night, in a simple move that had no inkling on the Thunder — but it could made a difference.
On surface, names in Delon Wright and Cory Joseph should have no impact on the Thunder’s feature endeavors — recent history shows there’s a chance.
Cory Joesph hardly brings any difference to Oklahoma City’s trade deadline game-plan as the 29-year-old had to be offloaded of his remaining $25.2 million over the next two seasons.
In the case of Delon Wright, his change of scenery may have unknowingly given Sam Presti future leverage leading up to the 3 p.m. ET deadline.
Delon Wright entered the market in a similar boat to George Hill. The 28-year-old was one of the few budget options knowingly available at the point-guard position. Wright boasted a well-rounded average of 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists in his tenure in Detroit — and with him netting $9 million this season, and $8.5 next year — he’s locked into a very team friendly contract.
The reason why Wright’s movement so early into the deadline means something is he was direct competition with Hill in the market.
At age 34, George Hill has provided a similar spark to Wright, posting 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in his 14-game stint with the Thunder, being cut short with a thumb injury. Contenders see him as a cheap option for $9.5 million this season, and with a partially guaranteed $10 million deal for 2021-22 ($1.2 million guaranteed,) he can be a one-year rental.
There seems to be a very niche market for point-guards this season, teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers have been linked to a wide variety of ball-handlers in the market — Delon Wright was one of them.
All three teams listed have not only were inquiring on Wright, but they all have been linked to Hill as well. A top the stack of rumors, a mid-February report linked Philadelphia back to two names: George Hill, and Delon Wright.
Now with Hill’s biggest competition out of the playing field, his value should almost surely skyrocket — right? Teams have used tactics of saying there’s a better offer available for “player,” now with Wright out, who will GM’s list — Trey Burke?
With other point-guards demanding high returns (see: Kyle Lowry, Lonzo Ball,) or just hardly and value at all, it’s almost inevitable GM’s will scramble to touch base with Presti. And knowing how he operates — don’t rule out a last-minute bidding war when it comes to Hill.