Charlie Brown Jr. has been a familiar face within the Thunder organization in the last couple of weeks. After being inked to not one, but two 10-day deals on April 25 and May 5, Oklahoma City faced an ultimatum: let him walk, or keep him for the long haul.
They chose the long haul.
As per team release, the Oklahoma City Thunder resigned forward Charlie Brown Jr. to a multi-year contract.
In alignment with league policy, contract details have not been released.
As aforementioned, Oklahoma City’s decision to bring on Charlie Brown Jr. was brought upon the franchise as with two 10-day contracts under his belt, teams must either let a player walk, or sign them for the rest of the season.
Charlie Brown Jr.’s contract may come as a surprise given Thunder’s season ends on Sunday, but this may more of a low risk, safety net move. If Brown Jr.’s deal continues the trend of Sam Presti’s recent pickups — his contract should include a non-guaranteed second season, and if any more seasons are attached, those too should be non-guarenteed.
In eight games with the Thunder (one start), Charlie Brown Jr. has averaged 4.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.9 assists in 15.1 minutes.
The St. Joesph’s alum has been in Sam Presti’s crosshairs since he went undrafted in 2019, and now he’s finally got his target. Brown Jr.’s calling card to has been his pristine on-ball defense, particularly in jarring free steals both in college and in the G-League. His positional versatility at 6-foot-6 should make the Thunder salivate at his potential roles moving forward. With Oklahoma City, the right-hander shot just 29.4% from three on 2.1 attempts, though the end goal is he may blossom into a 3-and-D wing.
Charlie Brown Jr.’s deal locks up the Thunder’s final spot in the 15-man roster for this season, and gives some options heading into next year.
Late-season contracts are not as uncommon as you may think. Deals such as these give teams extra time to pan for gold as playoff eligibility is granted, and with a training camp right ahead — team’s get a head start on next year.
At age 24, Brown Jr. may be considered an oddity to lock up, but prior history shows, he may still have some untapped potential. In 2019, undrafted guard Kenrich Nunn signed a 3-year, $3.1 million deal with the Miami Heat — years two and three non-guaranteed. The then 23-year-old Nunn didn’t scathe the floor in his first year, but after fighting for a roster spot, he ranked second in rookie of the year voting behind Ja Morant. This season, Nunn averages 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
It goes without saying but, for every story like Kendrick Nunn, you’ll find five cases of players who never fit the bill — but the point still stands, there’s potential.
At worst, Brown Jr. may be lose his bid during Oklahoma City’s training camp bid, but even at that, the Blue will obtain his rights, and the franchise will have a clear look on him. At best, he’ll be suiting up for the Thunder next year.
Brown Jr. is expected to play for the Thunder in Sunday’s season-finale.