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Thunder release G Abrines, cite personal issue

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Thunder release G Abrines, cite personal issue
5:52 PM ET

  • Royce YoungESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covers the Oklahoma City Thunder for ESPN.com

The Oklahoma City Thunder have released guard Alex Abrines, the team announced Saturday.

Abrines has appeared in only two games since Dec. 23, sitting out because of personal reasons. The team and Abrines mutually decided for the 6-foot-6 guard to be released, with Abrines determining it best to step away from basketball to focus on his personal issue.

Abrines played six minutes against the Magic on Jan. 29 and nine minutes against the Heat on Feb. 1. He was around the team while dealing with his personal matter, with the Thunder organization offering as much support as possible.

“He’s still battling through some things and wasn’t able to be here tonight,” coach Billy Donovan said Tuesday after Abrines was included on the active roster but was not at the game. “Honestly, we go day by day with him and continue to be supportive with him. He’s around the team, we always talk and communicate.”

Abrines, 25, was selected 32nd overall in the 2013 draft by the Thunder after playing professionally in Spain. He signed with the Thunder in 2016 after four seasons with FC Barcelona, where he was named the EuroLeague Rising Star.

Known for his perimeter shooting, Abrines struggled to find a rhythm from 3 this season, though he hit a career-high seven 3s against Atlanta in November. He was expected to be a significant role player for the Thunder, providing floor spacing alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George.

Abrines is set to be a restricted free agent this summer, though it’s unknown what’s next for him in his professional basketball career.

After trading Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Bulls last week, the Thunder are now down to 12 guaranteed roster players. By rule, they will need to add two players within the next two weeks. It’s likely they will use 10-day contracts to fill the void while waiting on the buyout picture to clear. Players are eligible for the playoffs as long as they are waived by March 1.

In 31 games this season, Abrines is averaging 5.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. For his career, Abrines has appeared in 174 games, averaging 5.3 points and shooting 36.8 percent from 3.

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