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Payment Plans: A Look at the Oklahoma City Thunder's Highest Paid Players

While the Thunder build towards the future, OKC’s salary cap will take some of its biggest hits from its smallest contributors.

Despite consecutive losing seasons, it feels as though the Thunder are prepared to get back to their winning ways after locking down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort with long-term deals and drafting rookie center Chet Holmgren. The players mentioned above account for three-fifths of OKC’s highest paid players; joined by veteran big men JaMychal Green and Derrick Favors.

Neither Green nor Holmgren will suit up for the Thunder this season. Green, who is 32, was waived by the Thunder following a trade from the Denver Nuggets this offseason and will make $8.2 million this year. The former Nugget averaged over six points and four rebounds in 16 minutes per game last season.

Holmgren, on the other hand, is a 20-year-old rookie who was sidelined for the season by an injury at a pro-am basketball game this summer and is scheduled to cash in at almost $10 million this year.

Green and Holmgren represent opposite ends of the NBA life cycle. While Green was talented enough to find a role in Oklahoma City, the Thunder needed to have more minutes available going forward for young players like Holmgren.

Gilgeous-Alexander, making nearly $31 million and Dort, earning over $15 million, are also representative of the youth movement that General Manager Sam Presti has committed to.

With much of the team still playing out their rookie deals, Favors is one of the few veteran contracts remaining on the squad. The former Jazz forward’s statistics are similar to those of Green, putting up a meager 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in almost 17 minutes per game.

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Favors, who is slated to make over $10 million in 2022-23, played for less than half the season last year, notching only 18 starts and seeing less action than the likes of Vit Krejci, Ty Jerome and Isaiah Roby. Roby, who the Thunder released, put up averages of 10.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in 2021-22.

That being said, it is unlikely that Favors will be on the Thunder payroll past 2023. The same can be said for Green, who will also come off OKC’s books after this season.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort and Holmgren are what Oklahoma City sees as its future, evident by the trio’s salary numbers.

After an extension to veteran wing Kenrich Williams’ contract this offseason, Williams and Josh Giddey are slated to take Green and Favors’ places in the top five next offseason. 

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