By Randy Renner
It took a bit longer than expected and ended up being a tad different than we thought it would but shooting guard Jeremy Lamb and his $3 million contract for next season are indeed headed to Charlotte.
The Thunder made the deal official this afternoon.
Instead of getting the contract of Matt Barnes, as had been thought yesterday, the Thunder get the contract of former Seattle SuperSonic Luke Ridnour plus a 2nd round pick in the 2016 draft.
Ridnour and his non-guaranteed $2.7 million contract have been bounced around the NBA the last several hours and they won't stop yet. The Thunder can either waive Ridnour or trade him again as part of another deal.
One thing for sure, Ridnour will not be suiting up for the Thunder.The whole point of trading away Lamb was to free up salary and a roster spot.
You might remember Ridnour was on the Sonics team when they moved here to OKC and became the Thunder. Ridnour was a very vocal critic of the move and before he played a game for the Thunder he was traded to Milwaukee as part of the deal that brought Desmond Mason back to Oklahoma.
Lamb has had a disappointing beginning to his career in OKC after being traded from Houston as part of the James Harden deal. Lamb never seemed to completely buy in when it came to playing defense and that led to less and less playing time. Then with his minutes reduced Lamb never could find consistency with his shot.
A new start should help him, especially playing on a team with his old college teammate from UConn, Kemba Walker, running things from the point guard position. He's still gonna have to figure out how to play better defense though. Steve Clifford won't put up with someone who doesn't so Lamb could still find himself at the end of the ben.
The Thunder have talked to teams about moving up, but the price so far has been more than OKC is willing to pay. Moving down, or even all the way out of the draft, is much more of an option, especially as we get into the draft and a player the Thunder really wants is taken off the board.
The Thunder continue to shop Perry Jones and Steve Novak. Jones is due $2 million and Novak $3.75 million this coming season and the Thunder would like to move at least one, if not both those contracts to help offset the cost or re-signing restricted free agent Enes Kanter, who could command a salary of $10 million.
Most mock drafts still have the Thunder taking Murray State point guard Cameron Payne and if Payne is already gone then most believe OKC will target Kelly Oubre, Sam Dekker and Trey Lyles. Oubre and Dekker are both small forwards and Lyles is more of a power forward. The team also had point guard Jerian Grant in for a workout this week.
So as usual, when it comes to the Thunder there are several ways the team could go and none of us mere mortals really has much of a clue as to what will end up going down.
My guess is, if Payne is still available at #14 the Thunder will take him.
Our InsideThunder.com staff will be at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center this evening, we'll also be monitoring any trades during the day. Be sure to check out our Twitter feed page so you can keep up with what's happening as we will be live tweeting through the day and evening.
We expect to talk with Thunder GM Sam Presti and perhaps head coach Billy Donovan after the dust settles this evening. Remember the Thunder, as of this writing, not only have the 14th overall pick but also 18th pick in the second round (48th overall) so it will be a late evening.