Grading OKC Thunder’s Deadline Deals


Grade: A+++

The Oklahoma City Thunder might have pulled off the biggest and best deals of the deadline. OKC pulled off a huge three team deal between themselves, the Detroit Pistons, and the Utah Jazz. In the trade the Thunder received D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler, and a 2019 second round pick from the Pistons for Reggie Jackson. They then moved Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, and a 2017 first-round pick to the Utah Jazz for Enes Kanter and Steve Novak.

Woah. What a major deadline deal done by all three teams. While this wasn’t the only deadline trade, it was definitely one of the biggest. OKC shiped off Jackson and fulfilled his trade request from earlier in the week. The only definite move the Thunder had to make this trade deadline was to move Jackson because there was obviously some bad blood between himself and the front office, not to mention the damage he did to his chemistry with the rest of the team. They also moved Perkins, a player who was not going to be a part of the teams future after this season.

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One of the reasons why this trade is an A+++ is because of the fact that OKC didn’t give up much to get a lot. They gave up a back up point guard who didn’t want to be there because there was no way he was going to resign with them at the end of the season for a proven veteran backup point guard in Augustin. D.J. isn’t the scorer that Jackson is but he is a better floor general with a better knowledge of how to run a pick & roll along with leading a team while Russell Westbrook is off the floor. Augustin is averaging around 10 points per game while also averaging 5 assists per game. He spreads the floor better than Jackson ever could as well. With a better three point shot then Jackson it gives the Thunder yet another weapon off the bench.

Here is a sample of what Augustin cdid earlier in the season and what he is capable of.

Another reason this is a great trade for the Thunder is that they addressed their need for outside shooting, with not just one but two veteran sharpshooters off the wing. They got Singler and Novak to help their low 3-point shooting percentage. The team is 25th in 3P%, which is near the bottom of the league and needed to be addressed. Well, general manager Sam Presti made a move and acquired what was exactly needed for this team. Singler is shooting 40% from three, while Novak is shooting 48% in limited minutes this season. Novak led the league in threes in the 2011-2012 season.

This trade also helped OKC solidify their bench. Their bench wasn’t bad before but this puts theirs near, if not at the top of the league. The bench now has more veteran depth. Not for only this year but also for the future. With a bench of Augustin, Dion Waiters, Kyle Singler, Mitch McGary, and possibly Steven Adams the Thunder are a team to be reckoned with not only in the regular season but also in the playoffs, if they arable to make it in. They sit in the 8th seed right now. But with these recent trades they are sure to keep getting their win totals up and continue to climb in the Western Conference standings.

Feb 7, 2015; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Sacramento Kings forward

Jason Thompson

(34) defends against Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Now to get into the Kanter part of the three team deal. It was first reported that the Thunder might possibly get Brook Lopez from the Brooklyn Nets but instead they made the move that landed them Kanter. He is a young, quality big man who will help solidify the Thunder’s offensive and defensive sides of the ball. A 6’11, 245 pound center with just three years of NBA experience (he is only 22 years old), he’s a very young player with a lot of upside. If the Thunder can steer him in the right direction, this could be a dominating team for some years to come. With Adams out for at least two more weeks due to a hand injury, it was the perfect time for OKC to acquire a new center off the market. And by shipping Perkins out with his rather large salary and only having to give up a 2017 first-round pick it is a superb move by Thunder management.

The team needed more help in their big man depth. They had some good ones but the acquisition of Kanter allows them to move Adams back to the bench where he can develop behind Kanter and grow into his own at a more steady pace. He was giving the Thunder formidable minutes earlier this season at the starting center role but he is still very young and a very raw talent. Kanter gives them a more-refined post game that they desperately need. Enes can help not only on the offensive side of the ball but also the defensive. He is averaging 13.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game. He is a pretty big body to help out on the defensive end.

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The Thunder are also expressing  a very strong interest to re-sign Kanter at the end of the season as he will become a restricted free agent. If both sides can work out a deal for their future it will only make this trade even better. Also with recent rumors of Kevin Durant‘s possible leaving in free agency in a few years, I think this trade shows him tat OKC is committed to winning and building a team to win now. This at least has some , if not a huge impact on Durant’s mindset towards his impending free agency.

This trade easily puts the Thunder in even more in contention for a title this season. If there is one thing that Thunder fans have learned over the past years, it is to trust Sam Presti and he will deliver on some blockbuster moves and draft picks. This trade deserves nothing less than a grade of an A+++. Overall, a great move by the Oklahoma City Thunder.