By Michael Kinney
Norman Transcript / CNHI News Service
NORMAN, Okla. —
Oklahoma City waited until the last minute to make its move. Right before the NBA trade deadline expired, the defending Western Conference champions dealt away a once valuable piece of the team.
The Thunder let go of backup point guard Eric Maynor, who was traded to Portland. It was no secret that he was being shopped around for the last few weeks.
"I hate seeing brothers leave the team," Kevin Durant posted on Twitter. "I wish (Eric) the best, I'm gonna miss him and his family."
Coming off a knee injury, Maynor started the year as the Thunder's backup point guard behind Russell Westbrook. He soon lost his spot to second year guard Reggie Jackson. Maynor averaged 11 minutes a night for the Thunder this year.
"I want to thank the Oklahoma City Thunder for everything the last three years," Maynor posted on Twitter. "Appreciate all the love n support from the fans as well."
In exchange for Maynor, the Thunder received the Blazers’ trade exception. It can be used when a team trades away a player with a higher salary than the player they are getting in return. The exception is valued at close to $2.5 million. Oklahoma City has up to one calendar year to use it.
The Thunder were not done. They also picked up Ronnie Brewer from New York in exchange for a second round draft pick. The former Arkansas Razorback has had stops in Memphis, Utah, Chicago in his seven seasons in the league. He is averaging 8.4 points, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals and close to three rebounds a game.
The 6-foot-7 Brewer will join a crowded backcourt of Westbrook, Thabo Sefalosha, Jackson and Kevin Martin. But his reputation as a defensive specialist could earn him valuable minutes. His contract expires at the end of this season.