News broke on Saturday morning that Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Patrick Patterson picked up his player option on the final year of his contract worth $5.7 million next season.
After playing the first 5 games of the 2018-19 season in the starting lineup, Patterson played sparingly for the Thunder averaging just 13.7 minutes in 63 appearances. He averaged just 3.6 points on 37.4% shooting from the field—both career lows—and 33.6% from three, the second-lowest mark of his career. He also averaged 2.3 rebounds per game. Patterson also did not play a single minute in the first round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers.
With his lack of contribution on the court, the question must come up during the offseason: what can the Thunder do with Patrick Patterson?
Option #1: Play Him
Patrick Patterson was signed as a free agent out of Toronto a few years back with intentions of using him to spread the floor on offense without giving up much on defense. Patterson has been a solid shooter from the corner three-spot, and in the past, he has shown his ability to guard multiple positions. Unfortunately, he was not very successful in either area this season.
If Patterson wants to find his way back onto the court, he is going to have to continue to work hard, which he has no problem doing. Then, that hard work has to translate onto the court, whether that means knocking down shots when open or simply assisting the younger guys in their roles on defense.
Option #2: Trade Him
Patrick Patterson is just 30 years old , so he still has a few seasons of basketball left in the tank. He was not incredibly useful for the Thunder a season ago, but he definitely has a play style that another NBA team could find useful.
What really makes him a potentially desirable trade piece is the fact that he’s got just one year left on his contract, and he’s not that expensive of a player. While he will definitely not be a focal point of a blockbuster trade, he could be used as a secondary piece to make the money work.
Option #3: Waive Him
This is probably the worst of the three options, but it could happen. Patrick Patterson is a stand-up guy and a consummate professional, but if he cannot find his way to be valuable on the court, and the Thunder cannot find a trade that works with him, then Oklahoma City may just need to eat the contract and move on from him.
If the Thunder was to buy out Patterson or waive him, it likely would not happen until after the trade deadline. At that point, his role on the team for this final season would be clear, and if OKC feels like they can pick up a better option in the buyout market, then this could be an option.
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