Ty Jerome's time in Oklahoma City has come to an end. It was reported earlier this week that Jerome would not be participating in training camp with the Thunder, a major indicator that his ties with the organization would be cut before the season began, either through a contract buyout or a trade.
It turned out to be the latter, as the Thunder sent Jerome to the Houston Rockets as part of a massive eight-player trade on Thursday night.
It does not seem that the former Wahoo will actually end up in Houston, however, as multiple reports indicate that the Rockets are planning on waiving Jerome, making him a free agent.
A two-time All-ACC selection and a pivotal leader of Virginia's 2019 national championship team, Jerome declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected with the 24th overall pick in the first round. Officially, he was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, who traded his rights to the Boston Celtics, who then moved him to the Phoenix Suns.
Jerome dealt with severe sprains to both of his ankles through his first couple of seasons in the NBA. He appeared in 31 games with the Suns as a rookie in the 2019-2020 season, playing sparingly. In November 2020, Jerome was sent to OKC as part of a blockbuster trade that sent Chris Paul to the Suns.
Jerome continued to deal with injuries that held him to just 33 appearances in the 2020-2021 season, but he got significantly more playing time in those games - 23.9 minutes - and averaged 10.7 points and 3.6 assists per contest. Jerome had his healthiest season in 2021-2022, but got less minutes per game due to the Thunder having a number of quality options at the guard positions on the roster. In 48 games, Jerome averaged 7.1 points and 2.3 assists in 16.7 minutes per game. In March, the injury bug bit Jerome again, as he underwent season-ending groin surgery.
Entering this fall, there was excitement about Jerome beginning this upcoming season healthy and being able to contend for a meaningful spot in OKC's rotation. That did not end up panning out for a variety of reasons. Most notably, Jerome is entering the final year of his rookie contract, meaning the Thunder would have to choose between re-signing him to a new contract or letting him sign with another team next summer, essentially giving up an asset for nothing.
With the Thunder adding a number of talented guards in the past few drafts, it did not appear that Jerome would be playing very much for them this season, so it makes sense for the Thunder to part ways with Jerome at this point while they can still get something in return for him. The Thunder also saved $1 million in salary in the trade. This is also beneficial for Jerome, who should have a better chance of garnering significant playing time with another team.
Ty Jerome is still in prime position to have a breakout season as long as he finds a new landing spot with another NBA franchise.
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