Grade the Trade: Thunder finally land All-Star center in potent new 3-team pitch

The Oklahoma City Thunder are looking around the league at bigs, and this trade would bring an All-Star center to lock down the paint.
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The Oklahoma City Thunder don't need to find a starting center, but they don't not need to find one, either.

The team clearly thrived in the regular season with their five-out approach, spacing teams out and running pick-and-pop actions with Chet Holmgren. The rookie big was also rail-thin and able to be knocked around on the glass and at the rim. Against the towering true centers the Dallas Mavericks busted out in the playoffs, Holmgren and the Thunder gave up a lot of second-chance offensive rebounds.

Holmgren will put on weight, but likely not a ton, and the Thunder will have to make a decision, both in the short term and the long term. Is Holmgren absolutely a five? Or would giving him a larger partner on the frontline make sense, playing him some of the time at power forward and then shifting him to center for some of his minutes?

The Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to add centers

The answer to that question dictates whether they are looking for a starting center or a backup one, but initial reports suggest they are at least doing their due diligence on potential starters. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported that the Thunder were interested in New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein.

That indicates some level of interest in starting centers, and that will include both free agency and the trade market. What if they invested some significant resources in a top-end big man, someone who could take their defense to an entirely new level? Just such a player may be hitting the trade market this summer.

Let's look into a deal for a former All-Star center who fits their timeline and is an All-Defense level of player. Is the cost worth it? How much better would he make their team? Let's take a close look.