Thunder seen as possible trade destination for shot-blocking, board-gobbling big

The OKC Thunder are being viewed by NBA executives as a possible trade destination for a specific defensively-driven veteran center.
Oklahoma City Thunder v Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder v Atlanta Hawks / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Though the 2024 NBA Draft is a mere days away, the rumor mill is churning rapidly concerning the state of the league's trade market, and, interestingly enough, the OKC Thunder are heavily intertwined within it.

Already we've seen the franchise be willing to shake things up in this department with last week's deal that swapped former lottery-selected guard Josh Giddey to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for veteran 3-and-D wing, Alex Caruso, and, per one NBA Insider, those across the league believe Sam Presti and company could be interested in making yet another noteworthy transaction.

Thunder being monitored as possible trade destination for Clint Capela

According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, the Atlanta Hawks are reported to be interested in shopping their current franchise pivot, Clint Capela, this offseason as they look to re-tool to build more of a competent supporting cast around centerpiece, Trae Young.

With his experience in the association and particular set of skills, the 30-year-old is projected to be courted by several teams in need of center help, and executives across the NBA are keeping an eye on the Thunder as a possible destination.

"For months, many around the league believed Atlanta would break up its backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, but they’re not the only Hawks being monitored.

NBA executives are monitoring Clint Capela as a trade candidate for several teams needing a veteran center, including the Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies, and New Orleans Pelicans."

Michael Scotto

Throughout his 10-year NBA career, Capela has established himself as one of the more ferocious interior presences in the association who primarily focuses on the nitty-gritty aspects of the game.

Since the 2018-19 season, the big man has found himself putting forth impressive efforts on a nightly basis and boasts averages of 13.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks on 61.7 percent shooting from the field while registering with a tremendous career defensive rating of 107 and an elite offensive rebounding percentage of 15.2.

On paper, a player of his caliber could prove to be of great service and aid within this Thunder rotation, as they are in dire need of more frontcourt size and strength, and could seriously use for help in the rebounding department after finishing dead-last in boards pulled down last season.

Of course, the idea of trading for a guy like Capela could prove to be a bit challenging for Oklahoma City to commit to considering coach Mark Daigneault prefers to roll with five-out lineups and, being he's more of a one-dimensional player who is virtually incapable of expanding beyond the restricted area on offense, his inclusion could lead to some seriously clunky sets.

That said, perhaps if he were to be used as a reserve center option to have come in and replace current starting five Chet Holmgren in the lineup or, arguably more exciting, slide the Rookie of the Year runner-up up to the four alongside Capela and run a towering, four-out, one-in scheme, it could prove to be of great benefit to the team in several ways.

On top of this, even if his hypothetical addition to the Thunder winds up being a failure a la the Gordon Hayward deadline deal, the veteran's contract will be up come the end of 2024-25, meaning they could easily move on with zero long-term complications involved.

At the end of the day, in Sam Presti we trust, and if he believes bringing on the shot-swatting, board-gobbling, and rim-running services of Capela could be of benefit to Oklahoma City, then fans and pundits alike should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Either way, it will be interesting to see how this whole situation plays out, especially as we encroach on Wednesday's draft.