Jazz wing Miye Oni and a 2028 second-round pick were traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday to save on the team’s luxury tax payments, according to multiple media reports. Athletic’s Shams Charania was the first to break the news.
Oni, now in his third year in the NBA, was off the rotation after playing 54 games in the 2020-21 season. During this season he has shown good defensive faith – Oni has often been placed on the opponent’s best winger in the minutes he has played – but also his limits. Oni led the league in fouls per minute for a winger last season and shot 90% of his 3-pointers, where he is a career 33% shooter.
By this season, he was out of the rotation. His contract for the rest of the year would have been guaranteed if the Jazz had kept him beyond Friday, which would have meant paying him an additional $ 930,000 over the season, on top of the roughly $ 850,000 that Oni has won so far. .
But because the Jazz are in the luxury tax, leaving Oni saves them even more money. If the Jazz had kept Oni all season, they would have paid around $ 5.5 million in luxury taxes to the NBA as a result of his contract; giving it an early waiver would have meant payments of about $ 2.5 million in taxes. By exchanging Oni’s contract with Oklahoma City, they pay nothing in taxes: the roughly $ 850,000 they’ve paid so far goes into the Thunder’s books, not the Jazz’s.
Jazz already had one spot on the roster before this deal, but now they’ll have two. NBA rules state that a team can only have two open spots for a maximum of two weeks before the team needs to fill it, so the Jazz will have to acquire a player soon. This player can be a signatory to a 10-day contract, a full contract, or a player acquired through trade.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City will have to give up one player in order to formally close the deal. But because they play below the NBA salary floor (a difference they should make up by writing a check to the league), acquiring Oni will cost them nothing, while still earning them a choice of second turn. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Thunder plan to walk away from Oni once the deal is done.
Oni is the third player in Utah’s 2019 second-round draft to leave the team – 50th Jarrell Brantley and 53rd Justin Wright-Foreman now play away.