Yes the Thunder roster is at 15 guaranteed contracts. Yes all the seemingly good free agents have already signed with everyone. That won’t stop us however from looking at several players that could find themselves in a situation to really help the Oklahoma City Thunder going forward.
- SG/SF Lance Stephenson
Before you think I am crazy, hear me out. Yes he has been a knucklehead and yes he hasn’t been the same player since he left Indiana (although he did average 14.2 points in 26 games with the Memphis Grizzlies and knocked down 38.5% of his 3 point shots). Here is the thing with Stephenson, in spite of all his antics, he is a really talented basketball player. I believe if his antics could be reigned in a bit, you are looking at the Draymond Green equivalent of a wing player. Stephenson is also only 25 and would be joining a really strong Thunder locker room with Russ, Adams, and Collison.
He is the ultimate boom or bust type player, but if you can add him on a one year minimum contract, I believe you’d be foolish not to seriously consider it. We aren’t super far removed from him averaging 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists while playing lock down perimeter defense.
2. PF/C Larry Sanders
Yes he has been out of basketball since the 2014-2015 regular season, but he is still only 27 years old. Yes there are questions about his motivation and desire to work hard, but similar questions were asked of Hassan Whiteside just this season. I am not saying he would have a Whiteside like impact, but with nearly a 7-6 wingspan, Sanders has the ability to alter a game. Sounds like a guy you give a minimum contract too and if it doesn’t work out then you just move on.
3. SF Dorell Wright
Dorell is the consummate professional, and still could easily provide impact for a team at the small forward position. He is a career 36.5% three point shooter and could help fill the void that now exists at the small forward position. Basically the question regarding Wright should be this…Is he a better option than Kyle Singler? Even at 30 years old, Wright can be a decent option at small forward
4. SF Tony Snell
The lightbulb clearly hasn’t gone of for Snell at this point in his career, but he oozes potential. He’s 6-7 with a nearly 7 foot wing span. He moves well, is super athletic and has hit 35.1% of his three point shots in limited opportunities with the Chicago Bulls. Also he could likely be had in a trade for next to nothing at this point as the Bulls just drafted Denzel Valentine and have Jimmy Butler on the wing. Out of anyone on this list, he is the player that I would like the Thunder to add the most.
5. SG Ben McLemore
McLemore hasn’t been super great in Sacramento, but the Kings dysfunction hasn’t helped things. McLemore has seen his 3 point percentage increase every year he has been in the league in spite of spotty and sporadic playing time. Basically I wonder what type of player McLemore would be right now, if he had been in an organization that would maximize his abilities and talents. There is something left in McLemore for sure.
If I were Sam Presti, here is what I would do.
- Trade Anthony Morrow and Semaj Christon/Dakari Johnson for Tony Snell
- Figure out a way to move Kyle Singler (maybe attach a future 2nd round pick) and take back nothing in return. Then use the roster spot to add Larry Sanders (if you believe he will actually work hard and be committed). If not then I take a flyer on Lance Stephenson as a minimum contract doesn’t hurt the Thunder in any real noticeable way