First Paul George, then Jerami Grant, it appears to be a full on fire sale in Oklahoma City right now. Westbrook being moved has become inevitable, and it appears nearly the entire roster could be up for grabs.
Jerami Grant was one of the last guys that I thought would be traded. He is on a great contract, only 25, and playing some incredible basketball. The fact that he was moved to Denver for a pick shows how serious Presti is about not only getting out of the luxury tax, but pressing the reset button. The league has well been put on notice by now that any player is available for future assets.
Many Thunder fans are screaming and crying but I beg you, please do not be one of those people. Yes, I know losing PG sucks, and I know Durant left, and I know Russ is on the way out also, but let’s be honest, this era ended as soon as KD left. The PG trade gave a little bit of hope and rightfully so. Both years resulted in massively disappointing first round exits though. I am sorry, but that is the ceiling with this team the way it was constructed. There has been no shot of winning a ring since KD left, and now there is an opportunity to actually give yourself that chance down the road in 3-5 years. This is the perfect out. This is going to be the best thing that has happened to the franchise since drafting Kevin Durant when they were still the Supersonics. They have the potential to walk away from this offseason with 10 future first round picks, additional pick swaps, and multiple other young players with all-star potential. OKC could very well hit on some draft picks and relive the glory days of young Harden, Durant, and Westbrook, except not screw it up this time.
Nearly all of the future draft picks being acquired are for the 2021 draft or after. That is incredibly important because it is looking like the 2021 draft will be the first year high school players are once again eligible to enter. This creates essentially a double draft. The first few years of this we are going to see much more potent drafts than usual.
So what happens next, Westbrook gets traded right?
Maybe not. His contract is so massive, and so many teams are capped out right now, it is probably going to take a three, or four, or maybe even five team trade to pull this off. That is going to take some time. It might not get done for a couple weeks. So expect to potentially see a guy like Schroeder or Roberson go before Westbrook, and if not, one or both will probably get traded with him. Adams is on such a bad contract it is going to be really hard to move him. It would probably take attaching a first round pick or two with him in a trade to get a team to take him.
What I do if I am Sam Presti –
I call Bob Myers (Warriors GM) and tell him this:
“Everybody knows you don’t want DLo long term and it is a bad fit with Steph. They are both ball-dominant guards that need a certain amount of touches to be most effective, and they will get exposed on the defensive end. That could seriously be the worst backcourt in the league on defense. Don’t let DLo play with Steph and see a massive decrease in his numbers and usage, therefore harming his trade value. Let us give you Gallo, who is a better fit in your system and on an expiring contract, and then we’ll even throw in Ferguson and a couple picks. After next season you will only have big money committed to Steph and Klay with the option to retool around them, or do whatever else your heart desires.”
I think Bob Myers would have to work with OKC on that deal and make something happen. After that, I’d field all my offers for Russ, work with him on where he goes to a degree so he leaves on a good note, but still obviously try to maximize what you can get for him. Hopefully in the Russ deal, Adams, Roberson, or Schroeder or some combination of them are dumped. After that I would try to move whoever is left of those three and throw in some picks that aren’t too valuable so a team will agree to the salary dump if need be.
Hypothetically, let’s say the Spurs trade for Russ in a three team deal, and he is happy with going there. The Thunder will probably get something back in the ballpark of Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, Patty Mills and two first round picks. After this there are still a couple minor moves to be made, but you get where I am going with this.
If Presti play his cards right, the Thunder could walk away from this offseason with something like SGA, DLo, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, eight or nine first round draft picks, and a couple picks swaps. I take that every day of the week, and if you are a Thunder fan, you should too.