OKC Thunder players issue telling reactions to Josh Giddey saying goodbye following trade

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder organization admitted it really may not have wanted to trade away Josh Giddey, and based on social media reactions to the move from the 21-year-old and some members of the team, his former teammates also might have wanted him to stay.


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A post shared by Josh Giddey (@joshgiddey)

Oklahoma City Thunder

Earlier this week, Giddey was traded to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for veteran Alex Caruso. After making the deal, Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement that the transaction was made because Giddey was not on board with the team’s plan to use him off the bench rather than as a starter.

Had circumstances been different, perhaps the Australian would have fashioned a long career with the team that selected him with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. That also would not have caused reactions from former teammates such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who used three sad emojis to express his thoughts, and Chet Holmgren, who picked two emojis of his own in his response.

For his part, Giddey was very grateful to the Thunder organization in his post to Instagram. He also particularly mentioned teammates who “stuck with me through the very high highs” and the “very low lows.”

Among the highs were the up-and-coming Thunder earning the top seed in the Western Conference this past season. Among the lows were allegations of Giddey having an intimate relationship with an underage girl that led to police involvement that did not result in charges, in addition to an NBA investigation that was closed with no punishment last month.

Though the Thunder are bringing in a coveted 30-year-old role player who is a two-time All-Defensive team selection in Caruso, they are moving on from the possibly high ceiling of Giddey, who is thought by Presti to have All-Star potential.

This past season, Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, all somewhat lower than his marks from the 2022-23 campaign. His role changed as the Thunder were eliminated from the 2024 NBA Playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round, and further discussion about his place going forward led to the trade that brought such emotional reactions from all sides.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.