Recent proposal has Thunder trade for Wizards forward, but it's not Deni Avdija

Feb 23, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles the ball down the court against the Washington Wizards during the second half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles the ball down the court against the Washington Wizards during the second half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA offseason rapidly approaching its official launch date, fans and media pundits alike are champing at the bit as they await to see what the OKC Thunder plan to do.

Though they are coming off a magical 57-win season that saw them become the youngest team in league history to claim both a top seed in a conference standings and to win a playoff series, following their second-round elimination against the eventual west champions, the Dallas Mavericks, it's rather evident that the ball club still has some work to do before officially entering the title favorite conversation.

Easily one of Oklahoma City's most glaring issues is their lack of size up in the frontcourt, as they frequently rolled out a starting lineup consisting of 6-foot-5 Jalen Williams at the four and the rail-thin Chet Holmgren (weighs 207 pounds) down at the five.

Though coach Mark Daigneault seems to be set on continuing to have the 7-foot-2 rookie phenom manning the pivot, as it led to great success in 2023-24, the concept of sliding Williams up to his more natural wing position and finding a replacement for him at power forward may be both the ideal course of action this summer as well as a realistic way for them to add more size to their rotation.

In recent months, the concept of pursuing such a player via trade has been discussed quite frequently within the rumor mill, and, near the top of people's wish-list has been versatile Wizards stud Deni Avdija, who was an individual the Thunder had on their radar around February's deadline.

Of course, considering his spry young age of 23 and the career year that he just put forth, some are skeptical about the rebuilding franchise even considering the idea of offloading the former lottery pick this summer, which is perhaps a driving reason why Jack Simone of Wiz of Awes believes fellow power forward Kyle Kuzma could be a more realistic get, and proposed a trade that he thinks could be plausible between the Wizards and Thunder this summer.

Trade idea ships Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma to OKC Thunder

Kuzma/ Giddey

A seven-year veteran with ample playoff experience and an NBA Championship attached to his name, Simone believes Kuzma to be "be a solid option" for this title-hungry Thunder team to pursue, as he'd add versatility and a sound scoring output to Daigneault's frontcourt that they believed to be getting with the mid-season acquisition of Gordon Hayward.

This past season, the 28-year-old went on to post a tremendous stat-line of 22.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor.

Measuring in at 6-foot-9, 221-pounds, Kuzma boasts a much more ideal frame to have slotting into the primary power forward position over J-Dub, while his 21+ points per game scoring averages over the last two seasons would bring more potential to the club from an overall scoring perspective.

However, despite the intrigue that his counting stats may create, when looking at the needs of this Thunder team, there's a strong argument to be made that someone like Kuzma is far from the ideal, or even a well-fitting option.

On top of their need for more size and physicality, Oklahoma City could seriously use more long-range snipers within their rotation. Despite ranking as the best three-point shooting team in the league from an efficiency perspective this season, they did so by hoisting up just 34.2 attempts per game.

Their productivity from beyond the arc also proved to be one of their main downfalls against the Mavericks in round two of the playoffs, as they shot at a league-worst 33.5 percent in the conference semifinals despite shooting the fourth-most shots from distance among qualifying teams.

Kuzma is many things on the offensive side of the ball, but a long-range sniper he is not, as he boasts a career conversion rate of just 33.7 percent from beyond the arc and has registered a three-point shooting percentage of over 35.0 percent just twice along the way.

With the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren in tow, the Thunder seem to be set in the versitile scoring department. What they could use for is someone who can space the floor at an efficient rate.

On top of this, being they finished fourth-worst in rebounding this past campaign, they should also prioritize adding someone who can fight down low on the boards and, while he does average 6.4 rebounds for his career, with a mere average of 1.0 coming on the offensive glass, Kuzma's far from an ideal candidate to fill such a role.

Even though Simone's proposal sees the Thunder only parting ways with two future seconds and the likely to depart Josh Giddey, such a move should be far from a serious possibility.