By Randy Renner
Thunder GM Sam Presti tried and tried to get more value out of forward Perry Jones (former head coach Scott Brooks had been trying for three years to do that too) but finally after failing to get a desired 1st round draft pick for the former Baylor star Presti dealt him to Boston for a protected 2nd round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
The Thunder also picked up a $2.1 million trade exception but also had to send the 2019 2nd round pick they acquired from Detroit in the Reggie Jackson trade and some cash to sweeten the pot enough for Celtics GM Danny Ainge.
The main benefit for the Thunder is ridding themselves of Jones $2 million salary for this coming season which translates into a savings of at least $5 million on their potential luxury tax bill.
Jones was the 28th overall pick in the 2012 draft and had been projected to go much higher. Concerns about Jones' knees and whether his motor ran at a high enough RPM all the time were the main reasons for the slip.
Jones showed flashes of his potential as Kevin Durant's backup, Durant once even called Jones the "best athlete in the league."
But despite the flashes Jones mostly fizzled with the Thunder and he had some problems with injuries too. Jones is still just 23 years old so perhaps a new environment in Boston will help him.
The Thunder have now given up on two young players they'd hoped would blossom, Jones and Jeremy Lamb, who was traded to Charlotte earlier.
The move opens up a roster spot that could be used to bring in OKC Blue forward Josh Huestis. He was the Thunder's second 1st round pick last year and instead of signing a guaranteed contract as 1st round picks usually do, Huestis agreed to go to the D-League instead.
The Thunder have also been shopping forward Steve Novak and his $3.75 million contract. If they can work a deal for him it would bring them back under the punitive third tier of the luxury tax penalty.
That move wouldn't necessarily have to made though until the trade deadline in February since luxury tax penalties are figured on a team's payroll at the end of a season not the beginning.