After losing last night the Oklahoma City Thunder are now tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for the best record in the NBA at 32-9.
The Thunder have the best offense in the league and a defense that is approaching the top five. There aren’t a lot of holes in the Thunder’s roster.
But when you are a contender that is so close like the Oklahoma City Thunder, you do everything you can to win a title right now (except re-sign James Harden of course).
Thunder GM Sam Presti has shown in the past that he is willing to pull the trigger on a trade that he likes. He did it with Jeff Green back in 2011 and he did it before this season with Harden.
While the Thunder have been so great this season, they could still become better with a trade. They could use someone who can score in the low post. They could upgrade their backup point guard position. They could add another wing defender who they could possibly use on LeBron James (right now just Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Durant can match up with him).
The Thunder have a few players that they could use in a trade. Eric Maynor is going to be a restricted free agent this summer and has fallen out of the Thunder’s rotation. Kevin Martin is an expiring contract who the Thunder may not be able to keep after this season anyway. Kendrick Perkins is someone the Thunder might not want to pay $8-9 million over the next two seasons and a contract they would consider dumping.
OKC also has plenty of draft picks (at least four in the upcoming draft) and young talent like Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones III that they could include in a trade to sweeten the deal for another team.
So what are the odds that the Thunder make another trade this season by the deadline? Well, it definitely depends on what is out there.
We know that part of the reason Presti made the Harden trade with Houston at that time was to gain the kind of assets that he did. He liked this because it made the Thunder have the ability to be flexible with constructing their roster down the road. That means making them able to pull off trades when they need to.
We’ve heard a lot of big names that are possibly going to be shopped around the deadline this year. Rajon Rondo, Pau Gasol, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger and DeMarcus Cousins are a few of the names.
For the Thunder to acquire a big piece like one of the names mentioned above, they would have to include Perkins and/or Martin in a trade. The Thunder aren’t exactly unhappy with Perkins or Martin so we probably won’t hear any rumors about them.
We have just under a month until the trade deadline now. If Martin continues to struggle more and the Thunder fall out of first place, that will then give the Thunder a reason to consider dealing him.
Another thing to consider is that the Thunder will play the Miami Heat one more time before the trade deadline. Let’s say they lose again and it looks like they just can’t beat the Heat. Then that could become another reason to consider making a big trade and shaking up the roster.
But if the Thunder keep winning and have the best record in the league, a big-time trade is simply very unlikely for them. Pieces like Martin and Perkins probably aren’t going to get the Thunder a great deal at this time. Even the draft picks and Lamb or Jones probably won’t be huge pieces either.
If the Thunder end up making a trade, it probably will be on a smaller scale. Maynor seems like the most likely candidate to be dealt and even packaged with some draft picks won’t get the Thunder much back in return.
The NBA trade season is about to heat up but don’t expect the Thunder to be huge players at the deadline.