By Johnny Askounis/ [email protected]
Another day and another European upstart coming out of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following in the footsteps of Czech point guard Vit Krejci at the Atlanta Hawks, French point guard Theo Maledon is leaving and will be a new player for the Houston Rockets.
Maledon, 21, will be included in an eight-man trade alongside Derrick Favors and Ty Jerome, per ESPN. Additionally, Maurice Harkless and the 2025 second-round pick involved in the Krejci deal are also heading to Houston. As compensation, the Thunder will receive David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss.
Two trade exceptions and going under the luxury tax threshold were outside perks for the Thunder. The teams have yet to formalize the deal.
Maledon was selected 34th overall in the 2020 NBA draft, after three seasons at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne, including 22 games played in the EuroLeague Turkish Airlines and 20 in the EuroCup 7DAYS. Jumping into the NBA, he recorded 116 appearances, including 56 starts during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. He most recently played at EuroBasket 2022 for France, tallying 3.7 points per game in a minor role under senior national team manager Vincent Collet en route to winning the silver medals.
Going forward, Maledon is expected to stay with the Rockets, while the Thunder will end up with another European prospect, Aleksej Pokusevski. The Serbian striker wasn’t cleared to represent his country at this summer’s EuroBasket, instead focusing on preparing for the upcoming NBA season.
Photo credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL