Photo Credits: Jeff Hanish/USA Today Sports
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s path to the regular season opens Monday with Media Day, and officially begins on Tuesday with the arrival of team training camp. Despite the close proximity until tip off, the Thunder are still putting the finishing touches on their offseason campaign. This time doing so through the waiver wire.
As announced by the franchise on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder have waived guard Charlie Brown Jr. from the roster, subsequently claiming center Mamadi Diakite off of waivers. The move offsets roster spots as with the acquisition of Diakite, the Thunder still carry a roster of 18 heading into training camp.
The waiving of Charlie Brown Jr. marks the end of a short tenure with the Thunder. The Thunder initially signed the 24-year-old to two ten-day contracts last season prior to extending a two-year contract to the guard on the penultimate day of the regular-season.
In full, Brown Jr. placed 9 appearances (1 start) for the Oklahoma City Thunder posting averages of 4.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in a 16.9-minute span.
Brown Jr. also appeared in all five of the Thunder’s Summer League games, placing 4.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 19.7 minutes per contest.
As a result of the deal, the Oklahoma City Thunder will not owe Brown Jr. any financial value as the three-year agreement included a non-guaranteed second season, meaning his contract for the upcoming season essentially acted as a “priority” training camp deal.
The Oklahoma City Blue hold his G-League rights as a byproduct of last season’s deal.
As for the Thunder’s other transaction, the franchise has signed center Mamadi Diakite via waivers.
The deal picks up where Milwaukee left off, netting Diakite $1.5 million this season, if guaranteed, and $1.7 million next season, if guaranteed. Diakite’s partial guarantee will jump to $500 thousand on December 15, while his deal is non-guaranteed next season.
After a full four seasons playing at Virginia, Diakite went undrafted in 2020 — later inking a two-way contract for the Milwaukee Bucks. Diakite’s brief stint in the NBA sources a plethora of twists-and-turns as the 24-year-old earned a G-League Championship for the Lakeland Magic, and later earned himself an NBA Championship for the Milwaukee Bucks.
During his rookie tenure, Diakite made a name for himself sourcing 18.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks across 12 games, eventually resulting in the Bucks converting his deal into a two-year contract. In 14 appearances for the Bucks, Diakite averaged 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.6 assists.
The Milwaukee Bucks elected to waive Mamadi Diakite despite having the big man under a $100 thousand partially-guaranteed contract for the upcoming season. However, since the Thunder claimed Diakite off of waivers, the Thunder are absorbing the $100 thousand into their books.
At 6-foot-9, Mamadi Diakite fits Oklahoma City’s small-ball mold to the tee. The center lacks elite size and strength for the position, however, his high levels of athleticism on both ends make him a viable option headed into next season.