OKC Thunder: Presti mic drop trade deadline deal for a Southwest player

OKC Thunder trade deadline: Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots over Steven Adams of the Thunder. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder trade deadline: Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots over Steven Adams of the Thunder. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder trade deadline
OKC Thunder trade deadline : Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans shoots. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Griffin proved his adeptness at flipping draft picks to increase their value (Lakers pick was jettisoned to become three picks last season) – and that trio are all performing and will grow alongside their superstar. Additionally, the team house the trio of Lakers’ assets who arrived in the Anthony Davis deal. Plus there are the talents and skilled veterans Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick.

While the Grizzlies may house the most exciting group of youngsters with the cumulative greatest core upside – the Pelicans possess the greatest depth.

Entering trade deadline day the Pelicans are now six full games behind the Grizzlies. More importantly, they have two teams ahead of them (Blazers, Spurs) in the chase pack to catch the Grizzlies.

That factor could help facilitate the thinking behind this trade. It’s hard enough to make up ground on one team ahead of you – – but three teams and six games is a ton and only 31 games to make that mark. Of those 31 games, 13 are facing currently seeded clubs and another four against the Spurs (3) and Blazers (1) plus two against the Grizzlies and 16 road games. In practical terms, this feels like an impossible task.

That should open the door for Griff to be open minded. So here’s the big swing – catch everyone by surprise deal of deadline day…

Why New Orleans Pelicans do the deal:

If you’re asking “WHY would the Pelicans do this?” it’s a fair question but there are tangible reasons.

  • The on court marriage of  Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram hasn’t exactly produced perfect results. Through the seven games Zion has played the production of Ingram is down in all key categories:
    • To wit, Brandon Ingram was averaging – 25.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists and getting 18.2 shots per game pre-Zion.
    • With the rookie in the lineup, Ingram’s numbers are down to 22.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and getting 16.3 field goal attempts per game.
  • Some variance would be expected. But, when you’re Ingram and hearing Head Coach Alvin Gentry complaining Williamson isn’t getting enough touches, especially at game end warning bells should be going off. Yes, Zion is your cornerstone but the message Gentry is sending is he will be the focus moving forward. That’s fair given Zion’s expected impact — but again, if you’re Ingram it’s being presented like he’ll be that ‘go-to guy’ at the expense of everyone else. Up to the point Williamson returned, it was Ingram.
  • By removing Ingram it also allows more touches for Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick and your youngsters (that David Griffin drafted) to develop with Williamson
  • With a meager crop of free agent talent this coming offseason Brandon Ingram stands to be someone teams will target as a priority. Subsequently, there could be those crazy offers akin to what the Nets Sean Marks put out when he was trying to land free agents a few years ago. Griffin and the Pelicans can match — but they won’t want to get into a situation where they have to make untenable contract caveats.
  • Griffin has proven adeptness at turning draft picks into multiple picks and prowess at trading for assets. The two first round picks and pick swap will be huge selling points for him.
  • Dennis Schroder would give him a scoring point guard to pair with Lonzo Ball and in situations with Jrue Holiday allow him to play more off ball where he is at his best.
  • Schroder can then be flipped at the next trade deadline if he doesn’t prove to be vital to the Pelicans moving forward.

Why OKC Thunder drop the mic:

The key for the Thunder is obvious– they’ll need to get assurance from Ingram’s camp he will sign a hefty, long term deal with the Thunder. Whether Danilo Gallinari is traded or not the pairing of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Brandon Ingram with your existing roster provides a strong start to the foundational core.

More from Thunderous Intentions

As for E’Twaun Moore, he’ll be a reliable, consistent asset to play off the bench and fits the Thunder two-way identity. He’s in a contract year so he comes off the books at season end when the team can elect to re-sign him or let him walk.

The bonus here — the difference in the contracts being exchanged removes $1,188,107.00 from your overhead. Per Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman, The OKC Thunder is only $920k over at the moment and while the team has said they aren’t driven by salary cap this is a nice added benefit.

As for the fact I’m suggesting Sam Presti give up two first-round picks and one draft swap, let’s be honest the picks are great. But landing a valuable PRODUCING asset is far more enticing plus OKC retains picks in each of the years mentioned so the Thunder still have options with the draft.

With deals occurring that include four teams occurring this type mic drop would be so in keeping with the type of trade deadline deal Sam Presti would pull off.

5 key questions facing Thunder at trade deadline. dark. Next

While everyone else is shoring up their existing rosters – Presti throws on the magician cloak to stir up the West, improve the roster for the playoffs and establish another cornerstone asset for the future core.

What’s not to like?