Reevaluating if big swing trades by OKC Thunder and Raptors were worth the risk

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors, Paul George, OKC Thunder (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Paul George OKC Thunder (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) /

George re-signing gave credence to OKC Thunder big swing:

As for the Thunder they sent two quality assets to the Pacers to nab George which initially was viewed as a Presti robbery of Kevin Pritchard.

In hindsight, Victor Oladipo ascended to an All-Star level and Domantas Sabonis has continually improved. Now with George leaving after just two seasons (via a trade demand no less), it throws salt on the concept of taking huge risks.

Presti, like Ujiri, also tried to bolster his chances in year one with the addition of Carmelo Anthony (arguably his worst choice ever) and this past season adding Dennis Schroder (ironically via the Melo trade) which was more successful, but not enough in retrospect.

It has to be said, for as much as the Melo experiment failed, Presti’s ability to get the Hawks to take on Anthony’s albatross salary and gain Schroder plus a tax exemption of $10.8M. Don’t be surprised, however, if Presti doesn’t touch that TE which can be utilized until July 25 since his goal in light of three core player departures will be to lower his overhead and get under the luxury tax apron.

Unlike the Raptors, it’s safe to say the Thunder won’t be competing for playoff seeding. Following George’s trade, the exit of Jerami Grant and the big one – Russell Westbrook being traded to the Rockets cement the fact the Thunder are in full on rebuild.

Therefore, unlike the Raptors who may still be one move away from title contention the Thunder enter a phase where we look at who their key competition for the lottery balls will be and specifically a bottom three seed. At this point, no Western squad is guaranteed to be a bottom feeder. The Grizzlies and Suns are the most likely candidates and while drafts and free agents could result in ladder ascents the Pelicans and Mavericks could also still be lottery teams.

The East will offer the greatest competition with the Knicks, Cavaliers, Hornets, Hawks, and Wizards likely offering the Thunder the most competition in “the tank” campaign.