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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Clemente Almanza

OKC Thunder rumors: Vasilije Micic making NBA jump before season ends possible, per reports

Rumors of 2021 EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic possibly making the jump to the NBA before this season ends are once again circulating through Twitter on Tuesday.

Micic’s draft rights are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder as they acquired them from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Al Horford trade in December 2020. Micic was drafted 52nd overall in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft but has yet transferred to the NBA.

According to Eurohoops, Micic’s current club, Anadolu Efes, reportedly lost its co-star in former NBA player Shane Larkin when he signed with Real Madrid on Tuesday. Larkin has personally denied the report on Instagram. So it remains to be seen what the truth is. Anadolu Efes won the EuroLeague championship in 2021 due to its duo of Micic and Larkin but are 12-12 this season.

According to Basketball Inside 360’s Matteo Andreani, it appears Micic will follow suit with Larkin and leave Efes with intentions to finally play in the NBA. This would mean that he would need to agree to a deal with the Thunder as it owns his rights.

A deal could definitely happen between the two parties. The Thunder are currently $23 million under the salary cap floor, which means either that amount gets split up among the current roster or the Thunder use it to bring over international talent and essentially get a free look at them for the final weeks of the season — e.g. Gabriel Deck last season. While the former is what the players most likely want, the latter is the smart move for the front office.

Now this isn’t the first time that Micic to the Thunder rumors have circulated. The same thing happened last year with nothing materializing as Micic signed a new deal with his current club. This could be a repeat of that situation where Micic is using the threat of going to the NBA as leverage in contract negotiations.

For right now, the situation looks very fluid. it will remain to be seen whether this NBA rumor is genuine from Micic or a ploy to get the most money he can in the EuroLeague. If the Thunder can get him, they should definitely consider it. It’s essentially a free look at arguably the best basketball player in the world that’s not currently in the NBA. That type of talent on a respectable salary could definitely garner trade interest in the offseason. But, at 28 years old, Micic probably doesn’t have a spot on the Thunder for the long term and it’s hard to envision what his rotation minutes would look like.

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