Trade deadline is one of the most exciting times of the NBA season. Usually paired with the NBA All-star game, it marks the half way point of the season. This season it has been pushed back due to the condensed schedule to March 15th. In typical Sam Presti fashion, the Thunder have been very quite this season. With big free agents such as Dwight Howard, Deron Williams and Steven Nash contracts expiring, we have a great opportunity for some major pieces to be moved. Will any of them be coming to the Thunder?
The first thing to consider is the Thunders young and very talented core. The Thunder can realistically only make two types of trade. The first to add a role player. The second move a major piece to acquire another major piece.
The hot topic on the trade wire is Dwight Howard. The Thunder definitely have enough assets to trade for Dwight. The problem here is that the Thunder have not appeared on Dwight’s list of teams he will resign for. This leaves two options yet again. Convince Dwight to sign and trade to OKC, or gamble and hope he loves winning and OKC in his short stay enough he would resign. I don’t think the Magic could turn down an offer of Westbrook/Harden, Ibaka, and a 1st round pick. This would obviously mean flipping Perkins, or since he was signed before the new CBA, the Thunder could use their amnesty clause. Likely-hood of any of this happening? Very very little. But its fun to dream.
Another player quietly on the trade market is Andrew Bogut. His salary for the next two years is only 13 and 14 million dollars a year. When healthy Bogut is arguably the second best center in the league. I have read rumors that the Bucks are only willing to trade Bogut if they can unload Stephan Jackson in the deal. While Bogut’s contract is very team friendly, Captain Jack’s 10 million dollars next year isn’t. The only positive is Jackson’s contract is only one more year after this. I am not cap expert but I believe the Thunder could offer Perkins, Reggie Jackson and sign and trade Ibaka for Bogut and Jackson. This should still leave enough room to resign Harden also. Would the Bucks take Ibaka, Perkins and Jackson for Bogut and Jackson? I really doubt it. Harden and Ibaka would be much more interesting….
For a minor trade I would love the Thunder to go after Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Klay would essentually play the same role as Cook/Ivey, but he is shooting 15% better from behind the arc. The Thunder could offer Cole Aldrich. The Warriors might want to add depth to their bigs, with the injury to Kwame Brown and Biedrins turning to mush right before our eyes. Some excellent shooting in both the first and second units would really help the Thunder. I would love to see a small ball lineup of Westbrook, Klay, Harden, Durant, Perkins/Ibaka. Would the Warriors be likely to part with their young three point shooter? Highly unlikely.
My favorite trade that actually could happen is this. Reggie Jackson and Thabo for Luke Ridnour from the Timberwolves. This would have been much more likely a week ago before Rubio tore his ACL. I still think this trade can happen however. Luke would probably be much more suited to start at PG for the Timberwolves than Barea or Jackson, but with a .500 record in the West, Timberwolves playoff hopes look bleak. Why not add depth and a true shooting guard (who doesn’t shoot that well) in Thabo for next year when Rubio comes back? Luke would be the perfect backup PG beside Harden. He is a proven knock down shooter that can set up the offense with the second unit. This trade has a chance, but still not sure if the Wolves would spring for this one.
Overall, its awesome to speculate about NBA trades right before the deadline. It is one of the things that truly makes the NBA amazing. With less than three days before this deadline, no one knows how teams will look at this time next week. While it seems unlikely the Thunder pursue any trade, the possibility is still looming out there. Will it happen? We will have to wait and see.