Jan 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha (25) dribbles past Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Trade Rumors: Thabo Sefolosha involved in trade talks around the league?


The NBA Trade Deadline is two weeks from Thursday, which means that trade talks will continue to increase in the coming weeks leading up to the deadline.

Get ready for all kinds of rumors, speculation and trade ideas to be thrown across the Internet.

The Thunder’s starting two-guard, Thabo Sefolosha, had his name come up in a report.

Talking to league insiders, I’m hearing these names are being mentioned in trade talks within league circles (a lot of talk right now) …

— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) February 3, 2014

 

A. Afflalo, T. Ariza, C. Singleton, G. Davis, R. Evans, P. Gasol, T. Gibson, C. Landry, G. Monroe, A. Rivers, T. Sefolosha and G. Vasquez.

— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) February 3, 2014

 

To interpret, this could either mean that there are teams around the league who are expressing interest in Thabo or that the Thunder are shopping him around.

Sefolosha is averaging 6.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season. He’s shooting just 42.5 percent from the field and has seen his three-point shooting percentage fall to 33.3 percent from his 41.9 percent mark last season.

Thabo is still considered one of the elite perimeter defenders in the league and he is still extremely valuable to the Thunder, often closing out games for them. Although, some numbers aren’t backing up Thabo’s value.

The Thunder are scoring five points less per 100 possessions with Thabo on the floor than when he is off. Defensively, the Thunder are only 0.3 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than off.

These numbers are largely due to Thabo’s shooting struggles this season, the fact that he plays a lot of his minutes with Kendrick Perkins, and the fact that the Thunder’s bench units have been very strong this season.

Sefolosha is also in the final year of his contract, making $3.9 million this season. The Thunder have some trade exceptions (detailed here) at their disposal too, but they are also right up against the luxury tax this season, so they likely won’t want to trade Sefolosha for a salary much higher.

At $3.9 million per year, there still probably aren’t many players out there more valuable than Sefolosha. Sefolosha’s involvement in a trade would likely have to involve another Thunder asset like Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones or a draft pick.

Something the Thunder could do is package Sefolosha and Lamb to send to Orlando for Arron Afflalo, who is making $7.5 million per year and two more years left on his contract. Obviously, a deal like this has not been mentioned as more than a rumor by some, and even this potential trade isn’t one I think the Thunder would definitely be interested in.

Would the Thunder really want to part ways with Thabo and one of their young prospects? Is someone like Afflalo enough to receive back for those two? Would the Magic even be interested?

Another name that has been linked to the Thunder is Evan Turner, who has one year left on his deal at $6.7 million. For the same reasons as Afflalo and even more so, Turner seems an unlikely match for OKC.

Thabo’s name will continue to come up in these trade rumors simply because he is in the final year of his contract. The Thunder have positioned themselves to be flexible when it comes to forming their roster. That means being players at the trade deadline.

Trading Thabo would be a major move in my opinion and I don’t feel like the Thunder would be that interested in making a major move.

Thabo still has a ton of value to this team. He’s one of the few players on the roster now who can defend players like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. Even if this is going to be Sefolosha’s last season with the Thunder, the value he can provide them for the remainder of the season is enough to hang on to him. Cashing Thabo out probably isn’t going to yield much in return at this point.

Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder Thabo Sefolosha