With just over 24 hours to go till the NBA trade deadline arrives, OKC Thunder fans are waiting patiently to see what General Manager Sam Presti’s plans are, specifically in regard to his high-profile veteran commodities.
In the early stages of a full-fledged rebuild, Oklahoma City simply has little use for guys like Al Horford and George Hill, for their seasoned skill sets are best served on legitimate playoff contenders rather than a team whose main focus is to give their young guns ample playing time.
Already this trade season we’ve seen Presti strike on a couple of deals, the first of which being the move that sent Hamidou Diallo to the Detroit Pistons and the second being the one that managed to swap out Trevor Ariza for an expiring contract and a second-round pick.
Now, with March 25th literally hours away, we at TI believe that there could be a few more dealings in store for OKC.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve been playing the role of GM ourselves to think up ways in which the Thunder can better prepare themselves for the future. Be it by bringing on young and rising stars through their TPEs or by simply cultivating more draft capital, there are several routes in which the team’s front office could opt to take at this year’s deadline.
Of course, we are not the only publication to partake in such hypotheticals writings, and Bleacher Report recently jumped into the mix themselves to propose perhaps one of the best trades we’ve seen involving the likes of George Hill.
The deal: send the veteran point guard to the Phoenix Suns for a rookie big, some filler contracts, and draft picks.
B/R proposes fantastic trade involving OKC Thunder veteran George Hill
The proposed trade package reads as follows:
Citing the desire for the OKC Thunder to continue piling on draft picks to their treasure trove and the Phoenix Suns’ championship aspirations, writer Mandela Namaste — always gives great content — believes this move would be mutually beneficial for both franchises involved:
"Hill never quite seemed good enough to be the starting point guard on a playoff team, but he’s perfectly suited to leading a second unit. Adding Hill to the dynamic ball-handling duo of Chris Paul and Devin Booker would give Phoenix at least one consistent playmaker on the floor at all times and provide another strong locker room presence alongside Paul and Jae Crowder. Whether he’d be enough to make the Suns a legitimate Finals threat is questionable, but acquiring Hill is about as good as the team can do right now.This trade’s appeal for Oklahoma City is obvious. Presti collects yet another first rounder, gets to develop a recent first-round pick in Smith, and unleashes Carter’s bulldog intensity on the young Thunder."
Looking at this proposed trade, right off the bat Thunder fans should already be interested solely based on the fact that it would bring on a first-round pick for a guy who has never been in the team’s long-term plans.
However, to find that this deal also manages to bring on the number 10 pick from this past draft in center Jalen Smith, it easily pushes this package into “no-brainer” territory.
Leading into this past November’s illustrious night, I personally was a massive fan of the former Maryland big man. During his final season at the collegiate level, Smith posted impressive averages of 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game on 54 percent shooting from the floor and 37 percent shooting from deep on a cool 2.8 attempts.
Defensive versatility, floor spacing abilities, and incredible athleticism are still attributes in which he possesses but, unfortunately, being in Phoenix hasn’t allowed him to get that much-needed experience on the court what with him being stuck behind Deandre Ayton and the fact that the team is in a win-now mode.
The Thunder could be the perfect place for him to hone his skills with ample in-game experience.
From Oklahoma City’s standpoint, this would be an absolute gem of a trade and would be an all-out win for the franchise.