The Oklahoma City Thunder nearly have the best record in the NBA this season and they have the No. 1 offense. But that won’t stop the trade ideas coming in on how to make this team better.
Yesterday, it was suggested by Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman that the Thunder attempt to trade for Minnesota Timberwolves point guard J.J. Barea.
Barea is averaging 10.7 points and 4.4 assists in 23.4 minutes per game this season. He’s shooting 40.6 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are all slightly down from the production he has given the past few seasons.
Right now, the Thunder are going with second-year guard Reggie Jackson as Russell Westbrook’s backup. OKC began the season using Eric Maynor in the role but because of Jackson’s defensive ability, he has gotten the nod of late.
Jackson has shown improvement from a season ago but he’s not exactly killing it either. The Thunder second unit has also had some games recently in which they can’t buy a basket, that is whenever Kevin Martin can’t find the range.
Barea is someone who can create for himself and others in a pretty unique way in this league. He is an odd matchup being so short and stocky and able to still get to the rim in a variety of ways.
Just about any team could use a player like this. The question is though: how bad could the Thunder use him?
Barea would certainly help the Thunder score more off the bench. That is for certain. Defensively, OKC may dip a little using Barea instead of Jackson but it wouldn’t be anything too dramatic.
There could even be instances where you could envision Barea closing out games next to Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant and Ibaka.
Barea has a history of playing very well against the Thunder. This always makes a team take a closer look at a guy when they traditionally get torched by him. And everyone remembers Barea killing the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Barea signed a 4-year, $18 million contract with the Timberwolves back in Dec. 2011. He’s making around $4.5 million per season the next two years.
It wouldn’t be too easy for the Thunder to trade for Barea. OKC wouldn’t want to give up Sefolosha or Collison in a deal and would definitely involve Eric Maynor.
The Thunder could package Maynor and Jeremy Lamb for Barea and Chase Budinger. The best trade would be OKC dealing Maynor and Kendrick Perkins and picks for Barea and Derrick Williams but something like that would be super unlikely.
The other big issue is whether the Thunder would want to pay Barea around $4.5 million through 2014-15. Probably not.
Barea could definitely help the Thunder out. But for what OKC would have to give up, it just doesn’t seem like this could be a real possibility.