8 center targets Thunder must pursue during NBA Offseason

The OKC Thunder must look to secure their center of the future this offseason.
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two
Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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7. DeAndre Ayton

One name that isn’t getting talked about enough is Deandre Ayton.

The number one overall pick back in 2018 is coming off his first season with the Trail Blazers. He appeared in just 55 games this season but during the time he was on the court his numbers were very solid, as he averaged 16.7 points, 11.1 rebounds and just under a block per game (0.8.).

Additionally, he was very efficient this season, shooting 57.0 percent from the field. While Ayton might not be the superstar some thought he might be out of the draft, he’s become a quality starting center in the NBA.

The Trail Blazers just selected 2x NCAA champion Donovan Clingan seventh overall in this year’s draft. His college dominance and massive build have given the Blazers high hopes for his potential in the NBA.

The issue for Portland will be that it is gonna be nearly impossible to play Ayton and Clingan at the same time -- neither being a great shooter, the spacing would be atrocious.

While Ayton is not actively being shopped as much as Robert Williams, Portland would undoubtedly deal him for the right package.

The 7-foot, 250lb frame of Ayton would be quite the force down low for the Thunder, and, still only 25 years old and under contract for the next three seasons he would fit the timeline beautifully.

Prior to being dealt to the Blazers, the Suns gave Ayton a rookie max extension, meaning he will net over $30 million per season for the next three years.

With their available cap space, OKC is one of the only teams that could take on a contract that large. If the Thunder think the fit is right, keep an eye on Deandre Ayton as a sleeper name Oklahoma City could target this summer.