Grade the Trade: Thunder bring back point guard, add center in fascinating proposal

Dennis Schroder and Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Schroder and Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
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Would the Thunder make this trade?

It's certainly true that the Thunder could use some help on the glass, and they also would be justified in making an upgrade to their rotation given their success this season. The question becomes whether this is the right kind of deal to pursue.

The problem with adding a large, non-shooting center is that it nullifies the Thunder's offensive approach thus far this season. Whether it's Chet Holmgren, Jaylin Williams or even Kenrich Williams, the Thunder are playing with a stretch-5 on the court.

Playing a center like Jakob Poeltl flips their lineups back toward a more traditional look. That is certainly an option in some lineups, specifically ones where players like Cason Wallace and Isaiah Joe are swapped in for Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort, but if the Thunder were to play Poeltl significant minutes they would be giving up a lot of offensive versatility in the name of rebounding. This would be a lot to give up for a pure backup center.

Dennis Schroder is a solid player at point guard, but that's also the last position that the Thunder need to address. Between Gilgeous-Alexander, Wallace, Giddey and Micic the the Thunder are well-stocked with ball-handlers and playmakers, and that's without acknowledging Jalen Williams' ability with the ball.

This trade doesn't empty the coffers for Oklahoma City; they could make this trade without truly impacting their ability to make other moves down the line. Poeltl is under contract for multiple seasons and could be used as matching salary in a deal this offseason and beyond. This deal would, among other things, keep alive that salary slot for matching purposes down the line.

In the end, however, adding Poeltl probably gives up too much and takes away from their offensive identity in a way that isn't made up for by the presumed boost to their rebounding, and Schroder isn't moving the needle and may not even be in the rotation. It's an intriguing idea, but one that the Thunder likely wouldn't pursue.

Grade: B-

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