Over the next few weeks we will be looking at ways in which the Thunder can improve their roster. While much of the improvement will come from internal development and growth of the Thunder’s incredibly talented (albeit young group of Adams, Kanter, Roberson, and Waiters [assuming he re-signs]). I do however want to look at an interesting possibility of trading Kyle Singler. The benefits of trading Singler are not immediately realized because you most likely would not get anything in return. There are however a couple of benefits that I see should the Thunder decide to trade him. They are:
- It frees up a roster spot. Last season David West turned down millions to take a veteran minimum contract with the Spurs. The Spurs were also the beneficiaries of Kevin Martin (if you could say they benefited from him). One less player on the roster would open up a spot that could be taken by a player who could provide the Thunder with way more on the court value than Kyle Singler.
- Moving Singler’s contract gives the Thunder a chance to use the Mid Level Exception (MLE) to bring in another player. The MLE probably doesn’t hold near the amount of value it did with the massive spike in the NBA salary cap, but it would give the Thunder the ability to sign a player for up to 4 years beginning at $5.628 million per year. Teams can only use the MLE when they are below the luxury tax line (by at least $1.628 million). The Thunder were above the line this year, but with the massive jump in the cap, they have a legitimate shot to use this exception. Unloading Singler makes this scenario much more likely.
- Singler played 14.4 minutes per game this past season. That is 14.4 more minutes that could be given to Josh Huestis, who the Thunder should definitely find out what they have him in him this year.
So the big question is how would you trade Singler? His stats last season were bad, real bad. He shot a career worst 30.9% from 3 and made only 65.9% of his FTs. That’s not good for someone who is supposed to be known for his shooting abilities. While you might think trading him would be impossible, here is a realistic scenario that I believe would be agreed upon nearly immediately.
OKC THUNDER GET: A future 2nd Round pick that is heavily protected (like the Thunder only get the pick if it falls between picks 55-60) in the draft. So basically this is a salary dump.
BROOKLYN NETS GET: Kyle Singer, the rights to Semaj Christon, and a future 2nd round pick.
So why would the Nets agree to this trade? They have a lack of talent on their roster and a lack of future draft picks. They pretty much mortgaged the future when they traded for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Joe Johnson for basically every draft pick they have. This trade gives them a definite future pick, a player that could potentially be a rotational point guard (and with the Nets roster even possibly start) in Semaj Christon for basically $5 million a year (the value of Singler’s contract). And I guess it’s even possible for Kyle Singler to revert back to his previous play where he averaged 8.5 points a game while hitting nearly 38% of his 3 point shots.
The downside for the Thunder is the possible scenario where Singler reverts back to previous form next season along with the possibility of the Thunder seeing Semaj Christon as a rotation player in the future. The issue is that waiting for Christon and seeing if Singler reverts back could keep the Thunder from being able to add a player that can make an impact with the Mid Level Exception. It further keeps them from giving more playing time for Josh Huestis. Also the Thunder are in win now mode. The MLE gives them a better chance at winning next year.
So to summarize, the Nets need draft picks and an infusion of young talent. And who knows maybe Christon or the player the Nets draft can become a star? The Thunder could use the cap space, the roster spot, and the minutes Singler played to be distributed to other players. If I’m the Thunder and Nets I make this trade immediately.