NBA Teams
Royce Young, ESPN Staff Writer 18d

Thunder to decline fourth-year option on forward Josh Huestis

NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder

MILWAUKEE -- The Oklahoma City Thunder won't exercise the fourth-year option for the 2018-19 season on forward Josh Huestis, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

Huestis, 25, has seen sparse playing time since being drafted 29th overall by the Thunder in 2014, though he has cracked the rotation this season, appearing in all seven games so far.

Huestis was an unusual pick in the 2014 draft, becoming the NBA's first ever "domestic draft and stash" player. The Thunder selected him in the first round, which awards a guaranteed contract, but Huestis, in an agreement with the Thunder, didn't sign it, instead joining the franchise's D-League affiliate for his first season.

The Thunder elected to not exercise the $2.2 million team option for a few reasons, a primary one being the lack of evidence on Huestis and his fit with the roster. Before this season, he'd appeared in only seven total games in two years. Future roster and luxury tax implications also factored in, with the Thunder's planning for the hopeful re-signing of both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Committing to pay Huestis $2.2 million next season could translate to as much as $7 million with relation to the tax.

"In all honesty I try not to think about it. At the end of the day, it's my job to go play basketball. It's the organization's decision and they decided to not pick it up, but that's not something I'm focusing on too much, just because I know to get out there, play basketball and the rest will take care of itself," Huestis said after Thunder's 110-91 win over Milwaukee. 

The Thunder can still re-sign Huestis next summer as an unrestricted free agent, but can pay him only up to $2.2 million. The organization remains very high on him as a player, but without enough information and given the uncertainty of the roster going forward, is electing to maintain some flexibility.

"This is the only organization I've known and it feels like family, it feels like home, so obviously I would love to continue to be part of the organization and so I'm not thinking about next summer yet."

Huestis is averaging 1.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 12.7 minutes per game this season.

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