Thunder Trade: Sorthing Out the Chaos of Deadline Day


The trade deadline has always been a point of consternation for Oklahoma City fans. First, there’s the build-up where Thunder fans desperately hope for a ground-shaking move that can finally deliver that elusive title to such a young franchise. Then there’s the slight glimmer of hope when someone like Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweets out that Oklahoma City is interested in a handful of players that could be moved by the deadline. Then, inevitably, the crushing feeling of disappointment when OKC stands pat at the deadline and opts to move forward with the roster, as constructed.

Until this year.

The Thunder already shocked fans when the team shipped off a first rounder in exchange for much-needed perimeter help in the form of Dion Waiters. This move also had a ripple effect in that it finally gave Oklahoma City the roster flexibility to move disgruntled guard Reggie Jackson. Thus, it’s been talked about, dissected, analyzed, cross-analyzed, and put through every possible permutation ESPN’s Trade Machine could muster.

And now, it’s finally happened.

The Thunder and Nets have agreed to terms that would send Jackson to Brooklyn and bring Brook Lopez to Oklahoma City…or at least that’s what everyone thought.

However, as is tradition with the Oklahoma City Thunder, things were never as easy as they initially appeared. Starting at about 10:30 AM CST, trade talks between Oklahoma City and Brooklyn sparked back up after a month-long hiatus.

Not too long after this tweet, Woj then reported that the Nets were “clearing the way for Jackson to become the starter and a franchise cornerstone” pending that Jackson would agree to a long-term deal with Brooklyn. It quickly became apparent that Jackson was sold, per a report by Sam Amick.

It seemed inevitable that the trade was going down…that is, until it didn’t. Just as quickly as the trade began developing, things went quiet. Multiple sources began reporting that the only thing left was for OKC to pull the trigger and yet for about a solid hour, nothing happened. Tidbits floated around about OKC looking for third and fourth parties to facilitate the trade and that perhaps the Thunder were exploring Norris Cole as a potential backup point guard but altogether, the trade front went quiet. Like, deathly quiet. I’m fairly sure I saw a tumbleweed roll across my timeline.

Then in the last twenty minutes of the deadline, everything went nuts. Suddenly the Thunder were interested in Utah’s Enes Kanter, Detroit was inquiring about Jackson, and even the Pacers somehow got roped into trade talks. Then Woj finally dropped the bomb:

Things didn’t became even more vague from there. For anyone following the deadline on Twitter, all hell broke loose. About ten trades went down all at once and in the midst of all of the chaos, there set Sam Presti, the zen master himself, calm and collected. First, it trickled out that Presti had acquired Kyle Singler from Detroit, immediately giving OKC a 41% shooter on the wing who is also capable of bodying up bigger players on defense. Then the next bomb dropped.

And suddenly, it’s a three team trade. In return for Kanter, OKC sent away long-time center Kendrick Perkins. While Perkins’ D will certainly be missed, Kanter is an uber-young, developing offensive threat, and while he’s known to be a liability when it comes to passing, that was never Perk’s strong suit either. If anything OKC was able to add a 3-and-D-wing and front court depth at the expense of a player that was leaving anyways plus Perkins‘ expiring deal.

It wasn’t done just yet. What you might have missed during all of the chaos of the Brandon Knight/Isaiah Thomas/Michael Carter-Williams fiasco is that OKC also picked up D.J. Augustin and Steve Novak. This takes the trade from push territory into all-out win for Oklahoma City. Augustin is a veteran point guard who is more than capable of holding the bench together while Westbrook is spelled. He also represents the first distributing point guard since Eric Maynor donned a Thunder uniform.

Novak is a three-point marksman who slots onto the team a lot like Anthony Morrow already does (range for days, not much in the way of defense), only Novak does his damage as a post. It’s unclear how he’ll fit into the rotations but having another deep bomber can only further help the Thunder.

As the day rolls on, more and more details about this trade will come out. Logically, two more players have to be on the move for Oklahoma City. If and when these players are moved, OKC will likely dip under the luxury tax. Altogether, I think Mark Bruty at Above the Rim Blog, while addressing the state of the team post-trade, put it best:

Bottom line though, any time a team is able to exercise chemistry-demons, allow the roster to get deeper, and somehow save themselves money, it’s hard to not view the trade as a universal win. As we have known ever since the Thunder came to Oklahoma City, In Presti We Trust.

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