The Thunder are a taxed-out team willingly taking a step back and looking to trim costs.
The Clippers are early championship favorite and play in a desirable L.A. market.
No wonder Patrick Patterson wanted to move on. And no wonder Oklahoma City let him.
Patterson agreed to a buyout with the Thunder and will reportedly sign with the Clippers.
How much did he surrender to make that happen?
Bobby Marks of ESPN:
Patterson’s salary was $5,711,200. He’ll get $2,331,593 from the Clippers. With the $3.5 million giveback in the buyout, he’s down $1.2 million.
But as Marks said, the Clippers offer Patterson an opportunity to establish value entering free agency next summer. He’s the most archetypically sized stretch four on a strong roster.
The Thunder were $4,307,532 over the luxury-tax line. By reducing Patterson’s guarantee by $3.5 million and stretching the remaining amount, they get out of the tax.
However, Oklahoma City now has just 13 players. Signing someone else for the full season would put The Thunder back into the tax. They could skirt roster-size-minimum rules (essentially, 14 players) by signing someone to an unguaranteed deal and waiving him every couple weeks. Or they make another move to trim payroll.