The OKC Thunder are nearing the end of their rebuild and will soon begin a scary, exciting time in the life cycle of a team: Contention. I’m not saying this squad is making the conference finals next season. I am saying, though, that with a roster chock-full of potential and an elite talent in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it only makes sense to give this team a chance to earn real playoff experience.
Sam Presti and the front office have stockpiled a treasure trove of picks. An embarrassment of riches. The kind of problem you want to have in the NBA because with these picks comes flexibility.
Presti can trade the draft picks to get picks further down the line, as he did with the Denver Nuggets this past offseason. He can use the picks to move up in the draft, or even buy back into the lottery as he did when acquiring Ousmane Dieng.
One Trade target from each Southeast Division team for the OKC Thunder.
What he hasn’t done yet throughout this rebuild is trade draft assets for a winning player from another roster. The core of this OKC Thunder team is very young. Plenty of time still exists to allow players like Wallace and Ousmane Dieng to develop.
However, there comes a time in the life cycle of every team where talent acquisition has to shift away from the draft and towards trading and free agency. Since free agency is hardly an option for the OKC Thunder, we will instead focus on trades.
Ideally, Sam Presti keeps the powder dry until a bonafide superstar becomes disgruntled with their current team and demands a trade to a contender. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t look for affordable ways to improve this team as we go into next season. So here are some potential trade targets from the Southeast Division.