By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma City waited until the last minute to make its move. Right before the NBA trade deadline expired Thursday, 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 10 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 forward Georgios Printezis and 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 opportunity to acquire a trade exception was important to us strategically as it gives us the roster flexibility that we value,” Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said. “Eric has been an absolute professional during his time with the Thunder and he will have a very productive career beyond this season.”
The Thunder were not done. They also picked up Ronnie Brewer from New York in exchange for Oklahoma City’s 2014 second round pick and cash considerations. The Fayetteville, Ark. native owns career averages of 8.4 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 24.2 minutes per game. He has appeared in 46 playoff contests (17 starts), averaging 5.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 18.4 minutes per contest.
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.
“We are pleased to bring in a defensive-minded player like Ronnie, a high-character person who has played for coaches and programs throughout his career that we have a great deal of respect for,” Presti said. “He is a versatile defender with playoff experience that will add depth to our wing positions.”
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