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Former First-Round Aleksej Pokusevski Waived By OKC Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Friday that the team has waived former first-round pick Aleksej Pokusevski.

On Friday, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced they have waived forward Aleksej Pokusevski. After trading up to select Pokusevski 17th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, the experiment comes to an end in year four.

Pokusevski only appeared in ten games this season, averaging six minutes per contest, being a non-factor in Mark Daigneault's rotation. The writing was on the wall when the two sides did not come to a contract extension before the season, leaving the seven-footer as a sitting duck ahead of restricted free agency.

The Thunder typically dump their impending restricted free agents at the trade deadline. Still, it is safe to assume there were no bites on Pokusevski's services as Oklahoma City waives him for nothing just a few weeks after the deadline. 

The forward was simply not good enough in Oklahoma City, with a roster that past him by, the Thunder were comfortable making this move. The odds of the 22 year old making it in the NBA were always slim-to-none, but he was worth the shot in the first draft of the Thunder's rebuild. His upside was tantalizing, and him not panning out clearly has not hindered the team's future in anyway. 

Though, it was not all bad for the former first-rounder, last season before he suffered a gruesome leg injury, Pokusevski looked as though he turned a corner providing valuable rotational minutes for the Thunder. 

The issue remained the flashes were too few and far between, and now Pokusevski will look to catch on with another team to further his basketball career. 

This move opens up a standard roster spot for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have kept a packed 18 man roster for the length of Daigneault's coaching career. This might not be the only move to surface in the near future. 

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