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Cole Aldrich Likely Takes On Larger Role With Oklahoma City Thunder After Hasheem Thabeet Signing

Cole Aldrich will likely assume the starting center role on the Oklahoma City Thunder at some point in the near future. His path just got a bit clearer with the newly announced move that center project Hasheem Thabeet has signed with the team.

The team is now likely to move on from Nazr Mohammed, who was one of three internal free agents the team was going to have to make a decision on along with point guard Derek Fisher and guard Royal Ivey. Darnell Mayberry writes that the order has now switched with Mohammed likely out of the way.

Mayberry writes, "The addition of Thabeet all but guarantees veteran center Nazr Mohammed will not return to the Thunder. If not, that paves the way for third-year center Cole Aldrich to step into the primary backup role behind starter Kendrick Perkins. Thabeet is expected to be the third-string center."

Aldrich, a former KU big man, steps up in the rotation but Perkins himself is typically riddled with nagging injuries and could become an issue financially as the team gets closer to long-term decisions with Serge Ibaka and James Harden. Aldrich could find himself becoming a starter if the team decides that Perkins is simply too expensive to keep around as well.

For now, Aldrich will find a bit more playing time and the Thunder will see a bit more of what they have in their former first round selection. Aldrich averaged 2.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game last season in very limited playing time.

For more on the Oklahoma City Thunder check out Welcome To Loud City. For more news and notes from around the NBA head over to SB Nation's NBA page.