The Thunder do not need to make a trade, but it can be worth the risk when the perfect guy is available.
This season, the Oklahoma City Thunder have surged near the top of the Western Conference standings with a 29-13 record. While much of that can be attributed to continuity and development, some of their new additions to the lineup have made significant contributions.
Among those is Chet Holmgren, who has completely transformed the Thunder’s attack on both ends. Although the Thunder have been brought up numerous times in potential big-name trades with their haul of draft picks, the perfect role player could swing their championship hopes just as much as any star.
No team understands that better than the Denver Nuggets, the team that Bruce Brown helped win its first NBA Championship.
After Brown signed with the Indiana Pacers in the offseason and was traded to the Toronto Raptors, the NBA champ could be on the trade block. And he makes a ton of sense for the Thunder.
Bruce Brown could be the missing piece for the OKC Thunder.
Before looking at any stats, Brown’s style of play makes him a prototypical Thunder player. Despite his 6-foot-4 frame, he has shown that he can effectively play every position other than center.
In his playoff run with the Nuggets in 2023, he did everything from playing backup point guard to guarding LeBron James in the Western Conference Finals. Often seen in a cowboy hat, Brown quickly became a fan favorite in Denver.
In Oklahoma City, Brown would bring needed playoff experience and could seamlessly plug into the starting lineup if needed. Although his 3-point shooting is not one of his strengths, he can impact the game with much more than his floor spacing.
This season, Brown is averaging nearly five rebounds and three assists while getting just more than a steal per game. Add in his 12 points per game and 55% shooting from inside the arc, marks he has held steady at over the past two seasons, and Brown fits the mold of what the Thunder are looking for.
However, a potential problem with Brown fitting what the Thunder are looking for is that the Thunder already have guys like him. The most notable of those is Aaron Wiggins.
Wiggins has a similar frame and skillset, which typically leads to good results when he is on the floor. But the 2021 second-round pick is only playing 12 minutes per game.
Even though Wiggins and Brown are quite similar, the pressure of giving minutes to Brown would outweigh any pressure to play Wiggins. Albeit, Brown is a better player at this point in their careers, so the opportunity to basically double Wiggins’ minutes with an upgraded version of him has to be intriguing for Sam Presti.
The most intriguing part of trading for Brown is that, in addition to his contributions on the floor, he has a contract that works perfectly for the Thunder.
The wing is under contract through the 2024-25 season, assuming the Thunder pick up his team option, meaning he would be off the books before a potential rookie extension for Josh Giddey kicks in.
The move would also be a low-risk proposition for Oklahoma City. If the deal backfires and Brown turns out to be an awful fit, Oklahoma City will have only given up two non-rotation players and a pick that likely ends up near the end of the first round.
Even if Toronto demands more draft compensation, Oklahoma City can offer another low-value first-round pick or second-round picks, which it has quietly stocked up on in recent years.
Simply put, the Thunder should go after Brown and can outbid any other team interested. The Raptors do not need or seem to want him, so adding another pick or two to their return for Pascal Siakam could be enough to make a deal happen.