NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Daigneault calls Diallo ‘a developmental win’

Hamidou Diallo was the Thunder's longest-tenured player before being traded to the Pistons. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
Hamidou Diallo was the Thunder's longest-tenured player before being traded to the Pistons. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Mark Daigneault thought back to Hamidou Diallo’s first NBA summer league after the Thunder acquired Diallo in the 2018 draft.

“He’s a developmental win for us,” Daigneault said. “It’s hard for a player who’s picked in the 40s or late in the second round to stick in the NBA, never mind become a rotation player, never mind become the type of player that Hami has.”

On Saturday, the Thunder traded Diallo to the Pistons for forward Svi Mykhailiuk and a 2027 second-round pick via the Rockets.

“We’re happy for him,” Daigneault said of Diallo, “certainly love him as a guy, respect the heck out of him as a professional and as a man.”

Diallo was averaging career highs across the board with 11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, but he’s in the final year of his contract, and the Thunder was unlikely to match what Diallo will receive as a restricted free agent. The organization is moving forward with Luguentz Dort at that position.

“It’s tough,” Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Obviously me and Hami are super close. He’s like a brother to me. Went to school together, and then obviously spent a year and a half playing in the NBA together. It sucks. A guy that’s super close that I love playing around, love being around.

“But it is what it is. It’s the NBA. It’s a business. The front office, it’s not my job, it’s their job. They make decisions like that and they felt like it was best for the team and for Hami. My job’s to go play basketball.”

Diallo was the Thunder’s longest-tenured player, having logged 129 games over the last three seasons.

“He was a good friend of mine,” Dort said. “He’s got a great opportunity in Detroit and he’s gonna do good. I wish him well.”

Mykhailiuk has yet to join the Thunder. Like Diallo, Mykhailiuk was a 2018 draftee and is in the final year of his contract.

The 6-foot-7 forward out of Kansas is a career 37% 3-point shooter. He averaged 6.9 points off the Pistons bench this season.

“He’s a guy we think can do a lot of things,” Daigneault said. “He’s really, really skilled on the offensive end of the floor, not just as a shooter. We think he can play inside of a system and enhance his teammates and also make investments in the offense, which makes everybody better.

“And defensively he gives effort. He’s got really good size on that end of the floor. He’s a good system defender. He’s where he’s supposed to be. You can tell he’s played in the NBA for a couple years. Excited about getting to know him.”