The Oklahoma City Thunder have been mildly mentioned in trade rumors over the past few weeks as the trade deadline approaches. The deadline is tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. CST.
The rumors involving the Thunder have all basically been suggesting the same thing: that they are looking to add another piece as they chase a title this season.
The Thunder currently have the best record in the NBA. The Thunder will already be adding another player to their rotation tomorrow when Russell Westbrook returns from injury.
Every team could still use someone and the Thunder are no different. Statistically, the Thunder are at the top of the league in most categories. They’re sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency.
They are just 15th in the NBA in team three-point percentage, leading to the belief that adding another shooter is what the Thunder will be looking to do at the deadline.
Part of the reason for the middle of the pack three-point mark has been Thabo Sefolosha’s struggles this season. Thabo is down to 33.6 percent from 41.9 percent last season. Also Reggie Jackson is attempting 3.1 threes per game and making just 31.4 percent of them.
Jeremy Lamb is shooting a very respectable 36.6 percent from three and Derek Fisher is at 38.1 percent. Lamb is still so young and may not be able to be counted on as much in the playoffs. Fisher may also cool down some.
The Thunder are about $2.3 million under the luxury tax now so they don’t have a lot of cap to work with in acquiring someone new. But there are a lot of shooters who are making around that amount who the Thunder may be in play for.
Here are a few: C.J. Miles ($2.25 million), Vince Carter ($3.1 million), Evan Fournier ($1.4 million), Gary Neal ($3.2 million), Mike Dunleavy ($3.1 million), Jodie Meeks ($1.5 million), Anthony Morrow ($1.1 million) and Jimmer Fredette ($2.4 million).
The Thunder could include Hasheem Thabeet and draft picks to sweeten any deal for one of these guys.
There was also a report that the Thunder wanted to acquire a two-way player, which really makes it seem like Miles, Carter, Meeks and possibly Fournier would be the only fits.
I think it would take a pretty big acquisition for the Thunder to get someone who will actually see playing time. Last year, we all thought Ronnie Brewer would break into the rotation when he was acquired at the trade deadline and he didn’t play a meaningful minute all season.
I could certainly see Miles or Carter playing. Even Neal, Dunleavy, Meeks and Morrow could be used in some spots.
It doesn’t feel that really any of these players would be much of an upgrade unless we knew that they would be playing instead of Fisher or Kendrick Perkins. Since it seems like Scott Brooks is still set on giving those two minutes, the impact acquiring one of these guys would have wouldn’t be much.
I’d still prefer Lamb playing over any of these players and he’s really the only player currently in the rotation that I could see Brooks taking minutes away from if the Thunder acquired someone else.
That’s why it feels like if the Thunder really are going to make a significant move, it’d have to be a trade in which they dealt a player currently in the rotation (like Thabo or Lamb).
If the Thunder are able to acquire one of these players and only give up Thabeet at the most, it definitely wouldn’t hurt. If Westbrook gets hurt again or anyone else, any of these players would be a solid option to enter the rotation.
We’ll see what the Thunder have up their sleeve tomorrow. My bet is that they do get something done and I doubt it will be anything major.