The Thunder will send center Derrick Favors, shooting guard Ty Jerome, forward Maurice Harkless, point guard Theo Maledon and the Hawks’ 2025 second-round draft pick to the Rockets in exchange for athletic swingman David Nwaba, wing Sterling Brown, point guard Trey Burke and power forward Marquese Chriss, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Woj adds that the Oklahoma City will net two trade exceptions in the deal. In pure salary terms, the exchange will help the Thunder get $10MM under the league’s punitive luxury tax cap threshold. Wojnarowski notes that Favors in particular is tradable among the returning players arriving in Houston, as a solid backup big man on an expiring $10.2MM salary.
On the Rockets side of the transaction, Houston is acquiring a second-round draft pick and only have to take back an additional $1MM in salary, as Woj details.
Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the 2025 second-rounder is protected through the first ten picks of that draft’s second round. Should the selection not convey in 2025, Houston will receive the second-highest 2026 second-round draft pick among the Thunder, Mavericks and 76ers.
The 6’9″ Favors, 31, was a longtime key backup big man with several solid playoff-bound clubs. Last year with the Thunder, he appeared in just 39 games, averaging 5.3 PPG on 51.6% shooting, plus 4.7 RPG, across 16.7 MPG. Jerome and Maledon are both young players on rookie deals with remaining potential upside, and could benefit from their time in Houston.
Given that No. 2 draft pick Chet Holmgren has been ruled out for the year with a Lisfranc injury in his right foot, and with the best player in this new trade being sent away from the team, it appears that the Thunder are prioritizing a year of youthful development, as they look to the 2023 draft lottery to build out their impressive young roster.
Oklahoma City added four rookies through the 2022 draft, including two other lottery picks beyond Holmgren. The Thunder have been in full-on rebuild mode since 2019/20, winning a total of 46 games over the last two seasons.
Houston has also been in the asset-collection and draft lottery-targeting phase of its journey since 2020. The team went 37-127 from 2020-2022. This year, the club drafted intriguing rookie power forward Jabari Smith with the third pick out of Auburn. The Rockets also made two other selections in the first round.
It appears unlikely that every player in this deal will be with their new clubs when the regular season opens. Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter) notes that both teams will still have 18 guaranteed contracts on their books following this deal. Per league rules, that tally will need to reach 15 by October 17.