The start of the NBA season is just a week away now.
There are a lot of uncertainties surrounding the Thunder this year, definitely more so than usual.
Zach Lowe of Grantland made 32 bold predictions about the season, one of which surrounded the Thunder making a trade.
1. The Thunder put out feelers on Kendrick Perkins, hoping to dump him for a slightly more useful player, using their first-round pick as bait. If the Thunder could dump Perkins to a team with lots of cap room — Phoenix or Philly, basically — that might unlock the midsize trade exception the Thunder received in the Kevin Martin sign-and-trade.4
2. Finding no takers, the Thunder add Jeremy Lamb or some other young asset to the Perk platter.
3. Finding no takers, the Thunder switch gears, come to grips with the fact that Perkins is theirs for the long haul, and try to cobble together enough salary to snag a midlevel wing type such as Lou Williams.
Getting rid of Perkins has to be something the Thunder would love to do. But that will be a lot easier said than done.
As Lowe notes, there won’t be many teams willing to take on just Perkins and give the Thunder much back in return. The Thunder would much more likely have to involve Lamb, and even then, it will be tough to work out a deal.
I have become less and less confident that the Thunder will be able to trade Perkins. It feels like OKC values him much higher than any other team, and thinks too optimistically that they can deal him for an asset.
The other two potential trade options Lowe discusses involve the Dallas first-rounder than OKC has, a pick that could become unprotected in 2018. Think about Dirk Nowitzki with only a few years left in his career and an unprotected Dallas first-rounder might be something the Thunder don’t want to let go.
There’s also the idea of shopping Serge Ibaka, with the most popular trade partner being LaMarcus Aldridge.
I feel that Ibaka is going to once again make a huge jump this season and even become a player that can find offense himself, making the potential upgrade to Aldridge less attractive for the Thunder, who probably look at Ibaka more highly than other teams too.
Overall, I doubt the Thunder will be able to make a trade this year. That is why Lowe called it a bold prediction. A lot of things can happen between now and the trade deadline, and the landscape of the league could make a trade more likely.