Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
The Oklahoma City Thunder have expressed an interest in signing free-agent center Daniel Orton, reports Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. No deal between Orton and the Thunder is imminent, but "talks are expected [to] continue," Mayberry says.
Orton's departure from the Orlando Magic seems all but assured. The Oklahoma City native, whom the Magic selected with the 29th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, played sparingly in Orlando. He managed just two games with the NBA D-League's New Mexico Thunderbirds before re-aggravating a prior knee injury, costing him the entire 2010/11 season. He made 16 appearances for the Magic in 2011/12, including two starts, averaging 2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks in 11.7 minutes per game.
The Magic elected not to pick up the third- and fourth-year options on Orton's rookie-scale contract, making him an unrestricted free agent. They do not have the right to match any offer he receives.
As his hometown team, the Thunder seem like a natural fit for the developing Orton, who would not be expected to contribute right away.