I admit from the start that this post is complete speculation without any significant substance from the Thunder. The background to a post like this comes from one of my hobbies of playing arm chair NBA GM and coming up with potential trades that not only make sense, but are actually remotely possible should Sam Presti decide to pursue such avenues for the Thunder.
So here are the parameters that I decide to work with. The Thunder would keep Adams, Russ, Oladipo, Collison, and Roberson in any trade scenario.
I also am aware of players that teams are looking to potentially move via trades. So with these ideas in mind here is a ridiculous 4 team trade that I believe is mutually beneficial to every team in involved. The salaries completely work in this scenario.
- PF Amir Johnson
- C Jahlil Okafor
- PG Marcus Smart
- SG Ben McLemore
- SF Rudy Gay
- PG Demetrius Jackson
- PG Cameron Payne
- Thunder 2020 1st Round Draft Pick
- Boston 2018 1st Round Draft Pick
- Several 2nd round picks from Boston or rights to several Boston stashed players in Europe
- PF/C Enes Kanter
- SF Jerami Grant
- SG Anthony Morrow
- PF Ersan Ilyasova
- SG RJ Hunter
- SF Kyle Singler
- PG Terry Rozier
- Rights to PG/SG Semaj Christon
So the obvious question is why would each team make these trades.
The Boston Celtics would immediately receive one of the best interior scorers in the NBA in Kanter. Banter can easily play alongside Horford (who is a definite underrated defender). The Celtics also get a versatile wing in Jerami Grant that is not only super athletic, but can also play PF in small ball lineups. While Grant’s shot is still a work in progress, I believe that Celtics coach Brad Stevens could maximize Grant’s strengths while hiding his weaknesses. The Celtics would have to give up a serviceable rotation big in Johnson (who is on his last year of his contract) along with Smart, Rozier, and Hunter (and some unheard of Euro players), but the only one that remotely stings is Smart. Smart has yet to hit his immense ceiling as a player (and he may never do so). Morrow is a bench scoring specialist that would help the Celtics from behind the arc, a place where they have struggled. The Celtics also keep their entire core together in this trade (Horford, Thomas, Crowder, Bradley)
The Philadelphia 76ers have long been rumored to have Jahlil Okafor on the trade block as there is a huge log jam at PF and C on their roster. Drafting Simmons and bringing over Dario Saric has increased that jam. This trade allows them to de-clog the roster paving the way for playing time for both Simmons and Saric. They also get Cameron Payne (who has the ability to be their point guard of the future) and two 1st round picks. If I were the 76ers, I jump all over this trade
The Sacramento Kings have wanted to move both Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore for a while. Gay has two years left on his contract (the last is a player option which I’m guessing he will opt out with little chance of returning to the Kings). McLemore will be a restricted free agent after next season, and I can’t see them wanting to pay McLemore. While they don’t return a bunch in this trade, they do receive 2 serviceable point guards in Rozier and Christon (both with some real upside). Basically for the Kings this trade amounts to receiving something for two players that you would probably not have on your roster after next season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have the ability to revamp their rosters. They get a young inside post presence that can score in bunches, but struggles on defense (sounds like another Kanter of sorts) for way cheaper than Kanter’s current contract. They also receive Marcus Smart (who if he hits his ceiling can become a star). Further the additions of Johnson provide the Thunder with a defensive minded big who can be another serviceable big while Sabonis develops. McLemore has never really been given a chance in Sacramento and Gay still has some mileage left (and could be a dangerous small ball power forward).
Demetrius Jackson is no slouch even though he was a 2nd round pick. I compare him to an in shape Raymond Felton.
The other part of this trade that is appealing to OKC is that should Johnson and Gay move on next season, the Thunder would actually have some legitimate cap space to chase at least a solid free agent (not quite max cap space).
Further this trade would likely put the Thunder as the 2 seed in the Western Conference and would present an incredibly deep team that could give the Warriors fits defensively. You could roll out a lineup that looked like Adams, Roberson, Oladipo, Smart, and Westbrook to combat the so called death lineup. Each of these players can switch and provide some incredible length.