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Can Jawun Evans Make the Thunder’s 2019-20 Roster?

Could OKC’s rebuild leave room for the former Poke?

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[USATSI]

On March 25, the Thunder brought Jawun Evans back to the state he played his college ball in when Oklahoma City claimed the former Oklahoma State standout off waivers.

Evans finished the season on a two-way deal with the organization, but he played only one game with the NBA team, spending much of his time with the G League’s OKC Blue. But the Thunder’s roster looks a lot different now than it did at the end of the season, so does the former Poke have a chance at playing in Chesapeake Energy Arena this year?

As of now, Oklahoma City has five point guards on its roster: Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Raymond Felton and Evans. It’s likely at least two of those guys won’t stick, and as of now, Evans and Felton are on the roster as free agents.

Player Age 2019-20 Salary Contract Years Remaining
Chris Paul 34 $38,506,482 3
Dennis Schroder 25 $15,500,000 2
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 21 $3,952,360 3
Jawun Evans 22 NA 0
Raymond Felton 35 NA 0

What Evans does have going for him is money and age. It’s no secret the Thunder are in rebuild mode with the departures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Evans made $1,378,242 this past season, making his the Thunder’s cheapest point guard, and at 22, Evans is OKC’s second-youngest point guard option behind Gilgeous-Alexander.

So, what needs to happen for Evans to make the roster? To start, the Thunder would have to be in a mindset to continue to clear cap space. This means looking at moving Paul’s contract where he is set to make $38.5 million next season and Schroder’s contract, where he is set to make $15.5 million.

Moving those contracts is easier said than done, as at this time, Paul’s contract is thought to be one of the (if not the) worst in the league, and at this point in the offseason, not a lot of teams have the means to make a trade for Paul because of salary cap restrictions.

Schroder’s contract is more movable, but it might be more of a matter of if the Thunder want to move it. At 25 with two more years left on his deal, Schroder could be a valuable piece to the rebuild.

Evans, entering his third year in the league, is also eligible to sign a two-way deal, but that would restrict him to 45 days or less with the Thunder, spending the rest of his time with the Blue.

It’s really all a matter of how the Thunder want to go about this new era. If OKC still wants to be as competitive as possible, maybe they keep Paul or Schroder to play with Gilgeous-Alexander. If OKC wants to go full-blown rebuild, there’s a world where they move Paul and Schroder, and Evans is the team’s second point guard.

It’s unlikely that Paul and Schroder will be on OKC’s roster with Gilgeous-Alexander next season, as all are starting-level point guards. Of OKC’s five point guards on the roster, Gilgeous-Alexander is the only one who survives every scenario of what the Thunder could want to do.

Last season, the Thunder had essentially 3.5 point guards on its roster with Westbrook, Schroder, Felton then Evans on his two-way deal. If Oklahoma City wants at least three again, one would be Gilgeous-Alexander, but the other two depend entirely on what type of team the organization wants to have.

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