Grading the trade for the Thunder
With all due respect to Davis Bertans and KJ Martin, the latter an intriguing athlete who hasn't yet put it together as he bounces around the league, tis trade is about Josh Giddey and Keldon Johnson. Are the Thunder ready to move on from Giddey? And is Keldon Johnson a player the team wants to have around?
Trading for Johnson is not taking a flier on a forward; it's committing to one. He is in the first year of a four-year, $74 million extension. The Thunder will have his salary on the books this summer as they look to use cap space, and moving forward as they attempt to build up this team into not only a title contender but a title favorite.
With their cornucopia of draft picks in the coffers they can afford to pay a little extra for a rotation palyer or two, but Sam Presti si all about sustainability, so Johnson has to be worth his contract for the Thunder to buy in. It's not entirely clear that he is.
Granted, the rising salary cap will make his deal look like a mid-level contract by the final season in 2026-27, but that doesn't mean Johnson is worthy of it. A season after shooting just 32.9 percent from 3-point range, Johnson has improved to only 34.2 percent, and his middle free-throw percentage of 75.6 percent for his career isn't hinting at some shooting progression coming. Johnson is a poor defender, poor shooter and mediocre playmaker; he can score on below-average efficiency, and unfortunately that is largely it.
Should the Thunder consider moving on from Josh Giddey? Yes, they probably should. He will surely continue to develop as a player, and one day may make Oklahoma City regret trading him, but they'll likely feel that regret while holding a championship trophy or two. The fit issues are real, and if Presti can get positive value for Giddey he should think about making a trade.
This deal, however, ain't it.