After nearly four hours of waiting in the Barclays Center stands, New Zealand Breakers guard Hugo Besson donned an Indiana Pacers hat as he got to the stage.
As Besson’s selection marked the official conclusion to the 2022 NBA Draft – the game had just started for Oklahoma City Blue staffers Nazr Mohammed and Brandon Barnett. There were some Summer League spaces to fill.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder prepared to play in the Salt Lake City Summer League and compete in Las Vegas Summer League competition, fielding a loaded roster of in-house and incoming talent is a top priority for franchises. Particularly, in efforts to strengthen your G League team.
Like many franchises, the Thunder extended a bevy of Summer League offers to prospects moments following the draft. But, with training camp aspirations in mind – agents tend to hand-pick the final destination – one which best suits their client.
Oklahoma City showed interest in signing Providence Justin Minaya to a Summer League deal earlier in the evening, but with Michael Jordan showing interest in his defensive ability, he went trekking to Charlotte.
After this reported no deal, Oklahoma City thrived in the 2AM lights, acquiring undrafted free agents Jaden Shackelford and Gabe Brown. Both signees will join the Thunder for next month’s Summer League.
Shackelford, age 21, carried a prestigious three-year career with the Alabama Crimson Tide. As a starter in all three seasons, he earned an SEC All-Freshman bid and two All-SEC nods in his collegiate tenure.
At 6-foot-3, Shackelford’s best trait comes in the scoring department. With the Crimson Tide, Shackelford averaged a career 15.2 points offensively, leading the team in scoring for the past two seasons. This go-around, he played a career-best 16.6 points while shooting 35.1% from three and 76.7% at the stripe.
The Oklahoma City Thunder inked Shackelford to an Exhibit-10 contract, placing him under a one-year, minimum contract that counts against the team’s 20-man offseason roster limit.
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If the Thunder elect to waive Shackelford at any time in this process, his G League rights will be automatically obtained by the Oklahoma City Blue – the franchise’s G League affiliate. If Shackelford stays on the Blue’s roster for a minimum of 60 days, he’ll be in for a payday up to $50,000.
In the Thunder’s second move, they inked Michigan State forward Gabe Brown to a deal.
Brown, age 22, played four seasons with the Spartans. Brown was a key bench piece under Tom Izzo in his first three seasons, but an increased role as a senior bolstered his stock and netted the forward All-Big Ten honors in the process.
At 6-foot-7, Brown is a small forward who lives on the offensive. He’s a left-handed sharpshooter, who notably shot 38.2% on over five threes this season, and he carries some sneaky hops that carry over on both ends of the floor. The Ypsilanti-native thrives primarily playing off the ball, making him an interesting option for alleviating floor spacing.
The Oklahoma City Thunder also inked Brown to an Exhibit-10 contract, placing him under a one-year, minimum contract that counts against the team’s 20-man offseason roster limit.
If the Thunder elect to waive Brown at any time in this process, his G League rights will be automatically obtained by the Oklahoma City Blue – the franchise’s G League affiliate. If Brown stays on the Blue’s roster for a minimum of 60 days, he’ll be in for a payday up to $50,000.
Shackelford and Brown join Stockton Kings forward Robert Baker as players outside of the Thunder organization to team up with the Thunder for Summer League play.