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 Trade Deadline
OKC Thunder, Trade Deadline: Dario Saric #20 of the Phoenix Suns shoots a free throw (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As mentioned, the Kings Bogdanovic would be a nice target for the OKC Thunder but there are two players on the Suns who make a compelling case for Sam Presti.

The young Gallo?

Loyal readers know I’ve coveted this big man even prior to him landing in the NBA. With time spent on the 76ers, Wolves, and Suns fans have witnessed different aspects of the big man’s talent and varied skill set.

Depending on what happens with Danilo Gallinari either this year at the deadline or this summer the young player who would be a perfect replacement is Dario Saric. I’ve often imagined Saric playing for Gregg Popovich which is a testament to the coaching master but also to the 25 year old.

Per Game Table
2016-17 22 PHI 81 26.3 11.4 .411 4.2 .311 7.2 .469 .468 2.7 .782 5.0 6.3 2.2 12.8
2017-18 23 PHI 78 29.6 11.4 .453 5.1 .393 6.3 .501 .541 2.7 .860 4.7 6.7 2.6 14.6
2018-19 24 TOT 81 25.0 8.6 .437 4.0 .365 4.6 .499 .522 1.9 .880 4.1 5.6 1.6 10.6
2018-19 24 PHI 13 30.5 10.2 .364 5.4 .300 4.8 .435 .443 2.3 .900 5.0 6.6 2.0 11.1
2018-19 24 MIN 68 23.9 8.3 .454 3.7 .383 4.6 .511 .540 1.8 .875 3.9 5.5 1.5 10.5
2019-20 25 PHO 48 24.8 8.1 .442 3.9 .314 4.3 .558 .517 1.4 .853 4.5 6.0 1.9 9.6
Career 288 26.6 10.1 .434 4.3 .352 5.8 .496 .510 2.2 .837 4.6 6.2 2.1 12.2

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2020.

Diving into the comparison of Gallo versus Saric although the latter doesn’t reach the same totals their production in certain areas is eerily similar.

Per Game Table
1 Danilo Gallinari 31 30.6 13.4 .441 7.4 .410 6.0 .480 .554 .906 0.7 5.0 5.7 2.3 0.7 0.1 19.2
2 Dario Šarić 25 24.8 8.1 .442 3.9 .314 4.3 .558 .517 .853 1.5 4.5 6.0 1.9 0.6 0.3 9.6

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2020.

First, let’s note the fact Gallo is more involved in the offense than Saric is in Phoenix. If you go back further in the Croatian’s history he’s performed better when he is a bigger part of the mix. More importantly, playing alongside one of Steven Adams or Nerlens Noel who are both stay at home bigs would allow the power forward more opportunity to take advantage of his skill set.  Although Saric plays almost six minutes less his rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks are either comparable or better than Gallo.

His 3-point shooting has taken a dip this season, but again, his career history leans to a higher efficiency when he’s more involved in the offense.

Whether the Thunder move on from Gallo or not I love this addition for the Thunder as a starter or off the bench. It sure feels like Gallo won’t be in OKC long term so Saric would be a great add at 25 years old to the future core.

As for the cost, the Suns didn’t dive into giving him an extension because they are focused on Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker and were in greater need of adding playmaking (hence the Ricky Rubio signing). Also, let’s not forget the deal that sent TJ Warren to Indy was for CASH! I’m still in shock Kevin Pritchard pulled off such a savvy move.

Which brings me to what Sam Presti could do to land Saric. Since the Suns would likely perk up to get some money to use in a trade for a coveted asset those trade exceptions become a useful benefit in securing the power forward. Additionally, the Suns need depth and wings.

More specifically, they need someone who can spell Booker when he sits and there is a myriad of bench guys on OKC that Presti could dangle since Phoenix isn’t looking for a star — just someone who won’t be a negative. Given the absence of defensive players on the Suns, any of the Thunder wings would be an upgrade in that regard.

The preference from this side of the trade window would be either Abdel Nader or potentially Deonte Burton (I mean if Billy isn’t going to play him than he may as well go somewhere that might — that hurt to write — but it’s true). Or if the Suns want another big man — hello Mike Muscala.

The issue here is where the OKC Thunder resides in the salary cap and even if comparable salaries are sent out it pushes the team into the luxury tax. You can’t use a trade exception on more than one player which also makes things dicey. But there are feasible trades that work assuming the Suns would be open-minded to taking the ARob contract (and buying him out if need be) or to taking picks if we add in a second player from each side.

Why Suns make deal – my hot take:

And this is where Presti makes a move to bolster the OKC Thunder depth and future but also gives the Suns something they can use to land someone that will make Devin Booker happy.

More from Thunderous Intentions

In recent days there’s been a ton of banter about Karl-Anthony Towns and the Wolves wanting to land D’Angelo Russell but interest is waning on the Warriors side of the conversation.

So— what about the third player in the mix of the young trio who wanted to play together — Devin Booker. If the Suns were willing to part with Kelly Oubre and multiple picks could they be the team to pry Russell from Golden State (who I’m not convinced want to keep him anyway)?

Oubre could easily slip into the Warriors squad as ‘the next’ Iggy and they could use the picks themselves or trade them to land someone they want.

By virtue of a trade of this nature, the OKC Thunder could add depth to the future core (albeit they’d have to get confirmation from Saric he’d be willing to re-sign this summer) as well as a young small forward who has more talent than many of the current OKC wings.

The two scenarios outlined above work and if I’m Sam Presti the low key move I look to make in the Pacific Division is for Dario Saric and Mikal Bridges.

Thunder: 3 trade deadline predictions for 2020. dark. Next

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