OKC Thunder: Presti flips Lecque for TJ Leaf and draft pick from Pacers

OKC Thunder trade: T.J. Leaf #22 of the Indiana Pacers is seen during game. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder trade: T.J. Leaf #22 of the Indiana Pacers is seen during game. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have flipped Jalen Lecque to the Pacers in exchange for TJ Leaf and a future second-round draft pick.

The busy week of the OKC Thunder continues with another trade that brings in a coveted asset and yet another draft pick.

With the compressed window of fitting in the NBA draft and free agency two days apart we knew this week would be slightly hectic. Factor in training camps will begin at the start of December and the first game of the season is one month from today. It’s no wonder it seems like news and trades are coming at a frenetic pace – –  they are.

That said, this season is also different based on how active the OKC Thunder are simply by virtue of the new strategy. The franchise is in the early stages of restructuring and revamping the club with the goal of building a championship quality team for the middle of the 2020 decade.

And while the next six to seven years will be equally fraught with copious draft picks and trades this inaugural season of the rebuild is busier simply based on moving out the core talents.

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Jalen Lecque traded for TJ Leaf

Adding to those transactions are the players who were part of initial deals that Presti is flipping to either target specific assets that fit the plans for the future or padding the draft coffers.

It’s remarkable how quickly the GM has recycled an incoming trade asset for another. Case in point, Danny Green, Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre, and James Johnson were all added and flipped in secondary deals in under 48 hours. We’re glued to social media awaiting the next Woj bomb that will tell us George Hill, Trevor Ariza or another member of the roster has been traded.

The latest trade finds 20-year old Jalen Lecque heading to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for 23-year old T.J. Leaf and — you guessed a “future second-round pick” as per Adrian Wojnarowski.

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Lecque was part of the player package that sent Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. He joins Ricky Rubio (Wolves) and Kelly Oubre (Warriors) who were rerouted in secondary trades to other teams. That leaves one player (Ty Jerome) who was part of the Suns’ package of players traded to OKC.

It’s unfortunate Thunder Nation won’t get to witness a rim rocking dunk by Lecque first hand but T.J. Leaf is very much a player who could find a long-term role on the Thunder.

Leaf was projected to be an all-around player in his draft class but has yet to live up to his full potential. Specifically rediscovering his perimeter shot that seems to have abandoned him. Coming out of college Leaf shot 47 percent on 1.7 attempts in his freshman season at UCLA and 42.9 percent on just under one deep ball per game in his rookie season with the Pacers.

Since then the 3-ball hasn’t been falling for Leaf whether it’s lack of shot attempts to get in a flow, tweaks to his form, or confidence his efficiency have dramatically regressed to 25.8 and 27.8 percent the past two seasons.

Clearly, the hope in OKC is the development team will help him rise to meet his ceiling.

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