OKC Thunder: 3 trade deadline predictions for 2020

JANUARY 27: Steven Adams #12 and Danilo Gallinari #8 of OKC Thunder talk during the game against the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 27: Steven Adams #12 and Danilo Gallinari #8 of OKC Thunder talk during the game against the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder General Manager Sam Presti speaks to media at preseason media (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Sam Presti comes into the NBA trade deadline with copious options. I’m spreading out tea leaves to share three predictions OKC Thunder GM will make.

With the trade February 6th, NBA deadline a mere four sleeps away, the onus this week at Thunderous Intentions will be on what the OKC Thunder will do.

Unlike the majority of his counterparts, General Manager Sam Presti approaches the deadline without any worries. His job is probably among the safest in the NBA given how well this past summer went.

Sure, the team was dealt a bit of a raw deal by superstar Paul George who re-signed with the club only to demand a trade one season later. Yet, in hindsight, we’re left to ask – did PG do us a favor?

Thunder Nation adore Russell Westbrook. There are countless memories the Brodie delivered to the franchise but his trade may be looked upon in the near future (if it isn’t already) as a gift. I will always be a Westbrook fan but there are obvious benefits from his departure. At 31 the point guard is set to earn over $38 million this season and is signed through the 2022-23 season when he’ll have the choice to opt into his final season for (gulp) $46.622 million.

Westbrook’s best attributes are speed, aggressiveness and a refusal to quit. But noticeably missing from that list is perimeter shooting. It’s not to say he won’t age well or adapt but while Chris Paul‘s contract also is in the upper hemisphere the key difference is his game has aged well.

CP3 is still capable of connecting from the perimeter (35.6 percent) and while Russ is beloved by his teammates perhaps the greatest difference between the two is Paul is respected to the degree that his leadership makes a palpable difference on the hardwood. One need only look to Dennis Schroder as an example of that effect.

Numerous franchises hit this week with concerns over getting into the postseason. Others are left to wonder precisely what it will take to move up the ladder. A few elite to middle-tier playoff squads will be looking to make that one trade that pushes them into genuine title contention. Others know they are already out of the race and will be seeking to pad their draft closets.

Unlike any of his peers, Presti prepares for Thursday knowing he could do nothing and this season is already a success. The team has been extremely entertaining, so much so that many fans are hoping the situation remains status quo. OKC appears well positioned for a playoff run but drastic trades could shift that direction.

Even if sweeping changes are made the fanbase still is unlikely to complain because they’ve witnessed how close this team is to being an elite squad again.

Factor those points with the reality of a draft closet chocked full from 2020 through 2026 and options abound.

And so – I’m pulling out my tea leaves to predict the three most likely actions that will take place on Thursday, February 6th at the trade deadline.