Player from Pacific Division OKC Thunder should target at NBA trade deadline

OKC Thunder Trade Deadline: Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Phoenix Suns and Dario Saric of the Phoenix Suns high-five during a game (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Trade Deadline: Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Phoenix Suns and Dario Saric of the Phoenix Suns high-five during a game (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder Team Previews: Bogdan Bogdanovic #8 of the Sacramento Kings yells to his team during a preseason game (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns:

The two young clubs in the division are at a crossroads. Neither is out of the playoff race yet and teeter back and forth weekly from looking like they could make a run for that eighth seed versus a bad week that pushes them back down the ladder.

The Thunder have benefitted from so much competition in the chase pack as these two clubs, along with the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies all vie for that final playoff berth. Each believes they can grab that seed and make the postseason and because of that refuse to throw in the towel.

In the case of these two clubs, its been over a decade since either participated in the postseason. Specifically, the Suns last foray was in 2009-10 and the Kings in 2005-06.

The pressure in Sacramento and Phoenix is mounting as the fanbases grow weary of constant lottery appearances. Making the situation graver is the fact they’ve been in the lottery so long they’re now in the situation of having to pay the youngsters who they drafted early in the rebuild.

At a certain point, the brain trust has to decide whether committing to these assets is worth the price when they continually miss the cut. Worse still, that decision might not even be theirs to make if the young stars like Devin Booker or De’Aaron Fox become disenchanted with the people running the show and end up demanding a trade.

It’s a double-edged sword since those same stars have yet to prove they can win with the talent surrounding them. Booker more so, since he’s had more opportunity, albeit without a quality point guard until this season.

What that means is there are players on the roster both clubs would be willing to move if:

  • There is an upgrade to be had
  • A gap in the roster can be filled
  • They can trade a player they don’t envision in their future (and don’t want to pay).

Both teams offer intriguing options for the OKC Thunder. The Thunder can offer picks, trade exceptions and bench depth with defensive aptitude from a winning program. Note: the OKC Thunder has two big exceptions – one obtained in the Paul George trade ($10,389,997) and one via the Jerami Grant trade ($9,346,153 ) plus another smaller exception from Justin Patton trade.

The context here is both clubs could jettison picks and trade exemptions in a package to land a specific player.

The question is which of the assets on these two teams would fit the OKC Thunder future that will be built around Shai Gilgeous Alexander.

There are a few enticing prospects on each club that make sense and that Presti could finagle a deal for that would meet both clubs’ needs long term. Albeit, the Kings and Suns would still need to make additional moves on their end potentially to go get the player they covet.

I touched on the situation with the Kings yesterday in the 5 questions regarding the bevy of players the Kings are set to pay and not necessarily committed to keeping long term. The most appealing on that list is Bogdan Bogdanovic who would fit nicely beside SGA given his perimeter prowess.

The other two pieces in Sacramento who are appealing is Richaun Holmes and Harry Giles. Both young bigs who haven’t exactly excelled since the onus is on Marvin Bagley III to be highlighted but have demonstrated growth and would fit perfectly in OKC.  Click the bar below for a more in-depth dive of what Presti could do to meet the Kings’ needs while simultaneously improving the future core of the OKC Thunder.

Related Story. 5 key questions facing Thunder at trade deadline. light

Instead, let’s focus on two players from the Suns Sam Presti should prioritize as his Pacific Division targets at the deadline.