Why the OKC Thunder should not make a splashy trade this season

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Who is even available for the OKC Thunder?

Lauri Markkanen has become the poster child for OKC trade rumors. At 7 feet tall, Markkanen provides some needed length to the starters. He provides upper-30% three-point shooting on high volume. He can yam it on any rim protector.

I’m not gonna lie. I love the idea of Markkanen in a Thunder jersey. What I don’t like is thinking about what Markkanen would cost.

All the reporting around a Markkanen trade is either “it ain’t happening” or “it could happen if you are willing to give away everything.” A favorable deal for the Thunder might look like Giddey, Bertans, and four firsts for Markkanen. At that price, I’m all aboard, and Danny Ainge is not.

This brings up a question that I don’t know how to answer: What is Josh Giddey worth? His value was certainly higher before the season than it is now. Between a slow start on the court and his troubling off-the-court situation, it’s likely that Giddey isn’t enough to anchor a Markkanen trade.

Would you be willing to part with five first-round picks, Josh Giddey, and Cason Wallace? It was a painful move, but still potentially worth it.

There are GMs who would take that deal and relish the flexibility that that draft capital offers. But this is no ordinary GM. This is Ainge. He’s going to try to extract as much value as possible from any trade partner. 

I could be wrong, but I don’t think there are any negotiations for Markkanen without Jalen Williams on the table.

After all, Lauri Markkanen is a guy who averaged 25.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season en route to an All-Star game appearance. He’s 26 years old and on a cheap contract through next year.

Put yourself in Ainge’s shoes. Why would you trade this guy for anything less than another potential All-Star? Both the Thunder and the Jazz would feel slighted by each other’s trade offers and would not be able to find a deal that they could agree to.