Thunder trade Lu Dort for 7-foot All-Star in no-brainer blockbuster proposal

This recently proposed trade scenario would see the Thunder piece together an outbound package headlined by Lu Dort and a bevy of picks for a popular All-Star target
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One
New Orleans Pelicans v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game One / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Though Lu Dort may be a beloved member of this current OKC Thunder core, a recently proposed blockbuster idea could, at the very least, have Sam Presti and company consider the idea of parting ways with their homegrown wing.

In a July 5 piece penned by Uproxx's Bill DiFilippo, four trade scenarios were discussed involving the likes of Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen heading out of Salt Lake City this summer, and, considering the forward has been a popular name linked to Oklahoma City over the past few months, it should come as no surprise that they were a team that acquired him in one of his hypothetical exchanges.

While he may have deemed the Thunder an "unnecessary team on this list," as they are the reigning No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and have an embarrassment of riches in tow both in the form of current players and future draft capital, the associate editor would go on to note that "Markkanen would be one hell of an addition and an incredible fit" within coach Mark Daigneault's rotation.

Because of this, DiFilippo believes Presti could easily find a way to construct a trade offer that would be reasonable for OKC to cough up while simultaneously being of great benefit to Utah if they ever opt to part ways with their 7-foot stud, and, in turn, took it upon himself to propose a package he is convinced covers both bases.

Thunder trade idea swaps Lu Dort for Jazz star Lauri Markkanen

Dort/ Markkanen Uproxx trade

While the inclusion of Jaylin Williams is described as being flexible, as 2024 lottery-selected guard Nikola Topic was also mentioned as being a player who "could pique Utah’s interest, DiFilippo seems strong on his stance that Dort would have to be included in such a hypothetical exchange due, mainly, to his $16.5 million salary for 2024-25, which is only about $1.5 million shy of Markkanen's.

Dating back to his astonishing coming out party during the Lake Buena Vista Bubble back during his rookie 2019-20 campaign, Dort has been a favorite among the Thunder franchise's faithful followers, and, over the years, he's only managed to up his stock within both the organization as well as league-wide as being considered one of the best 3-and-D players the game has to offer.

From his career-best 39.4 percent three-point shooting clip in 2023-24 to his well documented Marcus Smart-esque level of defensive tenacity, the 25-year-old has become a staple within OKC's foundation, and played a major role in their 57-win and second-round journey this past season.

However, considering their backcourt is already stacked and that they just made the splashy acquisition of fellow 3-and-D savant, Alex Caruso late last month, Presti now finds himself in a position where he could now try to dangle Dort's on-court expertise and salary figures along with ample draft compensation to land a talent upgrade at a position in more need of addressing.

there's an argument to be made that power forward is their weakest area on the rotation, and there's zero question that Markkanen would be a vast improvement over anyone they currently have on their roster.

On top of being an established All-Star, since his arrival in Utah a couple of year back Markkanen has pieced together something of a career "renaissance," as he's found himself posting averages of 24.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game all while shooting 49.0 percent from the floor and 39.0 percent from distance with the Jazz and has kept this previously presumed tanking team relevant in the tough west standings.

Because of this, though it may be truly painful to see happen from an emotional standpoint, should an opportunity such as the one DiFilippo crafted arise, there should be serious interest from the Thunder front office in making such a hypothetical become a reality.

A primary rotation of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Alex Caruso, Jalen Williams, Lauri Markkanen, and Chet Holmgren, along with a reserve unit consisting of Isaiah Hartenstein, Isaiah Joe, Aaron Wiggins, and Cason Wallace, is simply too good of a squad to pass up on.