Patrick Patterson and Thunder Reportedly Agree to 3-Year Deal

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2017

Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, in Denver. The Raptors won 113-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Patrick Patterson's stint north of the border is over after three-and-a-half seasons. The veteran forward reportedly agreed to a three-year, $16.4 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

A first-round pick of the Houston Rockets in 2010, Patterson averaged 7.6 points and 4.8 rebounds a game during his time with the Toronto Raptors. He also shot 37.3 percent from beyond the arc:

His departure from the franchise is somewhat jarring since he had carved out a consistent role in Toronto's rotation. But in an important offseason for the Raptors, general manager Masai Ujiri had to make difficult decisions and allow players like Patterson and PJ Tucker to walk to retain Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

Patterson didn't help himself with a poor second half to the 2016-17 season. According to Basketball Reference, he posted 7.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a night before the All-Star break. After the All-Star break, those averages dropped to 6.3 and 3.0, respectively, in large part because he was playing seven fewer minutes a game.

From October through December, Toronto outscored opponents by 14.8 points per 100 possessions with Patterson on the floor, per NBA.com. From January through the end of the season, the team's net rating dropped to 5.3 when he played.

Knee injuries dogged Patterson throughout the winter, and even after he returned to the court, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey thought effects from the injuries continued to linger.

"I don't know if he ever really got 100 percent healthy after the injury," Casey said in May, per Sportsnet's Arden Zwelling. "He never was the same after that. His rhythm was off a little bit. If you miss as much time as he didβ€”it affected him, I thought. Especially his three-point shooting production and effectiveness."

The Toronto Star's Doug Smith argued Tucker was a beneficiary of Patterson's slump:

Doug Smith: Raptors @SmithRaps

PJ Tucker's making a lot of the money Patrick Patterson is losing

Given all of the factors at play, it's understandable why the Raptors allowed Patterson to walk in free agency and sign with Oklahoma City. However, he could have a bounce-back season with an entire offseason to let his knee heal.

At his best, Patterson can be a versatile bench player who can spot up from three-point territory and crash the boards. Should he return to something similar to his pre-injury self, this could be one of the best under-the-radar signings of the offseason.


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