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Oklahoma City Thunder Free Agency: Northwest Division transactions; Gordon Hayward chooses Boston

The already competitive Northwest Division welcomes a number of impact players this off-season

NBA: Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

From Minnesota’s Draft Night trade for Jimmy Butler to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s June 30 acquisition of Paul George, the NBA’s Northwest Division has become an epicenter of early free-agency activity, and now Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward is heading east, having agreed to join the Boston Celtics next season.

Below is a list detailing all recent Northwest Division player-movement.

Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35, #6 West, Lost first round to Houston)

Players lost

  • Taj Gibson PF: (Signed two-year $24 M deal with Minnesota)
  • Victor Oladipo SG: (Traded to Indiana for Paul George)
  • Domantas Sabonis PF: (Traded to Indiana for Paul George)

Unsigned Free Agents

  • Nick Collison PF: (Unrestricted Free Agent)
  • Norris Cole PG: (Unrestricted Free Agent)

Retained

  • Jerami Grant SF: (OKC exercised $1.5 M contract option for 17-18 season)
  • Andre Roberson SG/SF: (Signed three-year $30 M deal with Thunder)

Acquired

  • Paul George SF/PF: (Via trade with Indiana Pacers)
  • Terrance Ferguson SG: (#21 selection, 2017 NBA Draft)
  • Patrick Patterson SF: (Signed 3-year $16.4 M deal with OKC)
  • Raymond Felton PG: (Signed 1-year $2.3 M deal with OKC)

Outlook

After trading two solid young pieces for a possible one-year rental of All Star Paul George, Sam Presti has boldly entered the NBA arms race while attempting to ensure MVP Russell Westbrook’s future loyalties.

As Minnesota and Denver rapidly improve, Oklahoma City likely bought another year of playoff contention, though tensions already envelop off-season 2018 for Thunder basketball.

More immediately, however, the Thunder’s two main free-agency storylines center around Westbrook’s possible supermax contract extension, and RFA Andre Roberson’s future.

Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51, #13 Western Conference)

Players lost

  • Ricky Rubio PG: (Traded to Utah Jazz for future first-round draft pick)
  • Zach LaVine SG: (Traded to Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler)
  • Kris Dunn PG: (Traded to Chicago Bulls for Jimmy Butler)
  • Jordan Hill C: (Waived)
  • Omri Casspi SF: (Signed 1-year $2.1 M deal with Golden State Warriors)

Unsigned Free Agents

  • Brandon Rush SG: (Unrestricted Free Agent)
  • Shabazz Muhammad SF: (UFA, Wolves extend qualifying offer)
  • Adreian Payne PF: (Unrestricted Free Agent)

Acquired

  • Jimmy Butler SF: (Via trade with Chicago Bulls)
  • Jeff Teague PG: (Signed 3-year $57 M deal with Minnesota)
  • Justin Patton C: (#16 pick 2017 NBA Draft, sent to Minnesota)
  • Jamal Crawford SG: (Signed 2-year deal with Minnesota)

Outlook

Even with unresolved depth issues, Minnesota’s starting lineup —which presumably includes Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, and Andrew Wiggins—presents an explosive two-way dilemma for fellow Northwest competitors.

Following Gordon Hayward’s decision, the new-look Timberwolves could jump from worst-to-first next season in their home division.

Denver Nuggets (40-42, #9 Western Conference)

Players lost

Unsigned Free Agents

  • Roy Hibbert C: (Unrestricted Free Agent)
  • Mason Plumlee C: (RFA, Nuggets extend qualifying offer)

Acquired

  • Paul Millsap PF: (Signed 3-year $90 M contract with Nuggets)
  • Tyler Lydon SF/PF: (#24 pick in 2017 NBA Draft)
  • Trey Lyles PF: (Acquired in trade with Utah Jazz)

Outlook

Last spring, after failing to suppress a late Portland run, Denver finished just outside the Western Conference Playoff race. However, with an emerging young core and All-Star signee Paul Millsap in tow, while factoring Gallinari’s departure, the Nuggets still appear poised to join Minnesota next fall as one of the NBA’s most improved units.

Portland Trail Blazers (41-41 #8 West, Lost first round to Golden State Warriors)

Players lost

None

Unsigned Free Agents

  • Festus Ezeli C: (Unrestricted Free Agent)

Acquired

  • Zach Collins C: (#10 pick 2017 NBA Draft)
  • Caleb Swanigan PF: (#26 pick 2017 NBA Draft)

Outlook

Following a rocky start, the Trail Blazers finished 16-17’ by claiming the West’s final playoff spot. Nonetheless, this offseason, limited roster upgrades should see Portland battle upstarts Minnesota and Denver to retain postseason status.

Utah Jazz (51-31 #5 West, Lost second round to Golden State Warriors)

Players lost

Unsigned Free Agents

  • Shelvin Mack PG: (Unrestricted Free Agent)
  • Jeff Withey C: (Unrestricted Free Agent)

Retained

  • Joe Ingles SF: (Signed 4-year $52 M contract with Jazz)

Acquired

  • Ricky Rubio PG: (Acquired in trade with Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Donovan Mitchell SG: (#13 pick 2017 NBA Draft)

Outlook

While claiming a division championship in 2017, the Utah Jazz must defend their title minus All-Star Gordon Hayward and impact two-way point guard George Hill. The fortune Utah enjoyed amid free-agency 2016 has turned to hardship as this year’s major off-season moves wind down.