In his second season in the NBA, Portland Trail Blazers guard Nolan Smith has not gotten much of a shot yet.
The former Duke standout played 12.3 minutes per game as a rookie then just 7.2 minutes per game this year after the Blazers drafted soon to be Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard. After acquiring Eric Maynor at the trade deadline, Smith was relegated to the end of the bench.
Smith will be a free agent this summer and the Oklahoma City Thunder are among a few teams who are reportedly intrigued by the young guard.
This acquisition wouldn’t be a move that would shake things up too much in OKC. Their point guard situation is pretty set with Russell Westbrook and now Reggie Jackson as his backup. Scott Brooks does like playing point guards as we’ve seen with Derek Fisher getting a lot of playing time recently, which means having three point guards on the roster does kind of seem like the plan for the Thunder.
The question will be how much they can acquire Smith for. With the salary situation that the Thunder will be in this summer, they will be looking to fill out the bottom of their roster with very cheap players.
The Thunder already will have over 12 players under contract going into next season so unless they make trades at the NBA Draft, it seems unlikely they will be signing any free agents.
Jackson has certainly emerged as a very valuable player to the Thunder this season. He is one of the assets they will have in terms of molding their roster for the future. If the rest of the league has taken notice, then Jackson may be someone the Thunder could use as a valuable trade chip and possibly open up a backup point guard slot that could be filled by Smith.
Smith hasn’t proven much in Portland but we know now that he is hungrier than ever to make it in this league. He comes from Duke where man-to-man defense is a high priority to fitting in with the Thunder shouldn’t be too difficult for him and Brooks would probably really like what he brings to the floor.