3 Trades the OKC Thunder should explore before the offseason ends

Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Tre Mann #23 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

Sam Presti is no stranger to trades, and the OKC Thunder have been highly active this off-season. That’s not changing anytime soon either, as they face a difficult roster crunch at the moment.

The OKC Thunder currently have 20 players under contract, and they must slash that to 15 before the season starts.

Check out below for three trades that Oklahoma City could explore to both alleviate this concern and accrue future draft capital.

3 Trades the OKC Thunder should explore before the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.

Why OKC accepts: Despite his scoring flashes, 2021 first-round pick Tre Mann hasn’t managed to crack the main rotation. The Thunder value playmaking, role versatility, and defense for their guards, so Mann being an isolation scorer and poor defender that struggles to create for others, doesn’t fit their desired mold. Plus, the additions of rookies Cason Wallace and Vasilije Micic radically shrink Mann’s minutes.

Meanwhile, injuries torpedoed Robinson-Earl’s second year in the league. He never found his groove after the extended absence and often appeared uncomfortable on the court. Jaylin Williams, Kenrich Williams, Ousmane Dieng, and Aleksej Pokusevski are also firmly entrenched above him as bench options.

Therefore, the Thunder package this young duo for Otto Porter Jr’s expiring contract and three future second-round picks. Oklahoma City would then waive Porter Jr, thus trimming the roster down to 18 players while acquiring future draft capital that provides Sam Presti even more flexibility when this core hits their prime.

Why Toronto accepts: The Raptors are desperate for offense and own arguably the worst guard rotation in the league. If Mann builds off his impressive Summer League and raises his efficiency, then he injects life into a Raptors squad that ranked 26th in half-court points per possession and 30th in bench Offensive Rating. Toronto also acquires Robinson-Earl’s versatile defense and hopes he rediscovers his outside touch and confidence. Finally, Toronto removed Porter Jr’s expiring contract off the books.

Overall, the Raptors exchange three future second-round picks and an undesirable contract for two cheap rotation players that are controlled for the next two seasons.

OKC Thunder Flip TyTy Washington Jr

Why OKC accepts: They recently acquired Washington Jr in a confusing salary dump and received future second-round picks in the deal. The 2022 first-round pick can hardly be blamed for a poor rookie campaign in Houston’s chaotic environment, so he still holds value to numerous teams.

However, the stacked guard rotation and roster crunch for the OKC Thunder makes TyTy Washington expendable. As a result, they ship him to Charlotte for another future second-round pick and add to the war chest. The OKC Thunder would subsequently roster 17 players assuming the first trade also occurred, which is two away from the goal.

Why Charlotte accepts: The Hornets must add talent to their lacking depth chart, so they gamble on his pedigree for the cost of a second-round pick. TyTy Washington was a highly-touted recruit, Kentucky’s main ball handler, and the 29th pick in the 2022 Draft – all tantalizing signs.

His ability to both run the pick and roll and space the floor can provide stability to Charlotte’s bench. These skills nicely balance rookie Nick Smith Jr’s knack for scoring, so the Hornets potentially cement their bench back-court of the future through this trade. If TyTy Washington fails to make an impact, then the Hornets only lose a second-rounder; it’s a low-risk, high-reward move.

OKC Thunder Improve Future 1st-Round Pick

Miami owes OKC a lottery protected 2025 first-round pick that converts to a 2026 unprotected first should the pick not convey.

The Heat and Thunder amend the owed pick to just a 2026 unprotected first.

Why OKC accepts: The 2026 draft class features a pair of superb prospects: Cooper Flagg and Cameron Boozer. They are the prizes of the foreseeable future, and Oklahoma City amends the pick to remove any chance of receiving a late 2025 first from Miami. The 2025-26 season will be Butler’s age 36 season and Lillard’s age 35 season (Miami only does this trade if they get Lillard); therefore, the Heat may struggle because of an old core. It will also be difficult for them to build a contender, considering Butler, Lillard, and Adebayo combine to earn $148,055,225 that season – roughly 99.2 percent of the projected salary cap. Overall, the Thunder improves the chance that this pick lands them a star player without sending any asset in return.

Why Miami accepts: This debt has somewhat hindered the Heat’s pursuit of Damian Lillard due to the Stepien Rule, which forbids franchises from being without a first-round pick in future consecutive drafts. Currently, the Heat can trade their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders to Portland; however, they would be allowed also to trade their 2024 first should they agree to the pick amendment. That change may convince Portland to accept the package, which would significantly upgrade Miami’s championship equity. In this maneuver with, the OKC Thunder helps them land Lillard, and the Heat will eagerly accept the pick amendment.

The OKC Thunder do not have too many picks. dark. Next