Grade the Trade: Thunder land The Finnisher in blockbuster summer proposal

Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Would the Thunder make this deal?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could win the MVP award this season. Chet Holmgren may win Defensive Player of the Year next season. Jalen Williams will be an All-Star and is already playing at that level this year. That's the core of a team that is ready to win titles right now and for years to come.

If the Thunder have a reasonable avenue to add an All-Star player who fits with that core and elevates their play, they need to strongly consider it. Taking swings in the NBA Draft is not a bad approach, but when you factor in the probability of finding another star, of that player fitting well with their stars, and the timeline for that player to develop, it becomes a much riskier proposition.

Lauri Markkanen, on the other hand, is largely a known commodity. He is seven-foot tall and would give the Thunder real size in the frontcourt without sacrificing any of their floor-spacing. He is averaging 23.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, hitting 40.3 percent of his 8.1 3-point attempts per game. He is a competent defender, a capable passer in certain situations and doesn't need the ball to use his gravity, movement shooting and cutting to boost the offense.

At 26 years old Markkanen is firmly in his prime and matches SGA perfectly, and his shooting will age extremely well in the best-case scenarios where he is with the team for a decade. This is a steep cost; Cason Wallace has real upside to turn into a special player, and many in the Thunder organization love Giddey. Yet this would hardly exhaust their extra draft picks, and they can rebuild the pipeline even as they contend for titles.

Markkanen is not a superstar Top-10 player, but the Thunder have one of those, and in making this deal could have four Top-30 players heading into next season. That's an incredible amount of firepower and the recipe for winning championships. This is a deal the Thunder should make if it's available to them.

Grade: A-

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