By Randy Renner
The NBA career of former #2 overall draft pick Hasheem Thabeet, which had been revived to a certain extent by the Thunder, will continue somewhere else.
Thunder officials have confirmed that Thabeet has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers, it's believed, will almost immediately waive the 7-3 center.
The Thunder would have had to guarantee Thabeet's $1.25 million salary next season come Monday, September 1st if he was still on the roster.
Instead of just waiving him, Thunder GM Sam Presti has engineered a trade that sends a $1.25 million trade exception to OKC and the Thunder also obtain a second round draft pick but it's thought to be heavily protected so it may never amount to anything.
The Thunder will have one year from today to use that exception.
With the rapid improvement of Steven Adams and the drafting of Mitch McGary the Thunder seem pretty well situated with young bigs. Thabeet's value to the team didn't match his salary and so the Thunder decided to part ways.
Thabeet's playing time fell away this past season after he saw action in 66 games in the 2012-13 season, his first in Oklahoma City. He averaged almost 12 minutes a game and when he was on the bench his enthusiasm made him a fan favorite.
He was also a favorite among his teammates and coaches for his attitude and work ethic, but his talent lagged behind both those other qualities.
Last season Adams got better faster than most anyone expected and took most of those extra center minutes and Thabeet appeared in only 23 games and even then played only a couple of minutes.
Thabeet has often said his time in Oklahoma City has been his favorite but the big guy could surely see his time here was limited.
With the move the Thunder open up a roster spot so maybe rookie Josh Huestis won't be sending his entire first season of pro basketball with the 66ers afterall.
Or, since the Thunder are now almost $3 million under the luxury tax line, they may decide to stick with the original plan and leave Huestis in the D-League and bring in someone else as we get closer to training camp or just leave the spot open for flexibility down the line.