NBA Rumors: Thunder To Guarantee Swingman's Contact--Unless Trade Materializes

 The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to guarantee the $1.9M contract of breakthrough wing player Lu Dort for the 2022-23 season. Unless something "different" happens before the deadline on Wednesday. 

That's the cryptic message from Thunder GM Sam Presti. “Obviously it’s our plan to exercise that. I would plan on that happening unless anything changes.” Presti said. Could that something "different" be a trade? There were strong rumors right before the draft that the Portland Trail Blazers had interest in acquiring Dort. 

By picking up that option, the Thunder have ensured that Dort will become a free agent after the coming season, and many OKC beat writers see that as writing on the wall that the strong perimeter defender will eventually be traded this season.

If Dort's option was not picked up, he'd become a restricted free agent, and the team could work out a long term deal. But with the impending decision to pick up the option, he'll be a nice expiring contract to be able to use as trade bait. 

In addition to his strong perimeter defence, Dort scored 17.2 points this past season, to go with 4.2 rebounds. He had a season-ending shoulder injury in February.