It’s no question that the OKC Thunder are destined for big changes this summer. They are already loaded with picks, and with Chris Paul in the fold just waiting to add more picks via a trade, the future is bright in OKC. Let’s look at what they can do this offseason to improve their roster.
5. Trade Chris Paul to the New York Knicks
In a surprising revelation for OKC, reports have surfaced of the Knicks being interested in Paul. This now presents probably the best trade option for the Thunder as they can probably get a solid return without taking on any long-term big-money deals.
Now the trade I’m going to propose seems pretty fair but let’s keep in mind that Presti is a master at fleecing people in trades and the Knicks aren’t the greatest ran franchise in the NBA, so let’s not put it past him to get an even better deal than this. Something along the lines of Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, the Clippers 2020 first-round pick, and the Knicks 2021 first-round pick seems likely.
I could see the Knicks wanting to include Bobby Portis or the Thunder wanting Julius Randle, but something centered around those two picks and Kevin Knox will probably be the base of the trade. This would achieve four things for OKC: get younger, get more picks, offload some salary, and get in a better position to have better draft picks (I’m refusing to believe that they will full-on tank). So this will probably be OKC’s best trade scenario with Chris Paul.
4. Trade Paul to the Bucks
Now, obviously, both of these trades can’t happen and this trade isn’t near as good as the Knicks deal for OKC but it is a solid backup plan bringing in a better short-term player and the mandatory draft pick. If the Bucks do decide to nut up and keep Giannis Antetounkompo happy, trading for Paul would be a good start.
A trade for Paul would probably have to be Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo, and a 2023 first-rounder for Paul. The bad part about this trade is that it makes a point guard log jam even more log jammed, so other moves would likely have to follow, but if the Knicks deal falls through this would be a great backup plan for OKC.
3. The Return of Jerami Grant
Grant is more than likely going to sign with a competitor, but if Chris Paul is traded to the Knicks and the Thunder have a lot of newfound cap space, they may be able to make an offer good enough to lure him back to OKC. Grant is only 26, so he’s still young enough to fit the Thunder’s timeline and the play style also fits.
Grant is a great defender and has improved drastically as a three-point shooter in the past two seasons, averaging about 39% from range in his final season in OKC and first in Denver. He would be the perfect PF to replace Danilo Gallinari and be a big part of the future alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Co. Plus, he’s already a fan favorite.
Grant will want more than the $9.3 million Player Option that he declined, so if the Thunder offer him a three-four year deal worth $12-15 million per year they could probably beat out a lot of contenders offers. This would be a welcome reunion for most Thunder fans and I personally would absolutely love to see it happen.
2. Sign Christian Wood
Wood was expected to have a big market this offseason but per recent reports, he might be more towards the $9.3 million mid-level exception range in the post-COVID market. If so, the Thunder should be able to easily beat this salary after a Chris Paul trade. Signing the breakout center to a three-four year $15 million per-year deal should be enough to beat out most other offers and give the Thunder their Center of the future.
This only makes sense if the Thunder are ready and able to move Steven Adams, but a 25-year-old, athletic big sounds a lot more aligned with the direction that OKC is going.
1. Sign Harry Giles
I know there is a lot of big men on this list, but again, these guys are probably only targets if OKC is ready to move on from Adams. Wood more so than Giles is dependent on Adams because Giles will be cheap enough that with Adams on an expiring contract it may be a good player to go after either way.
This is actually my favorite target for the Thunder this Summer (… or Fall?). The Kings declined his fourth-year option for whatever reason making him a free agent at just 22 years old. The former top high school player has had a rough start to his NBA career rehabbing knee injuries but has flashed in his limited minutes with the Kings positing a per-36 of 17-10-3-1-1. The Thunder could probably get him for $4-6 mil per year and it could turn into their future at the PF/C position.
What do y’all think Thunder fans? Would you welcome these players to OKC? What other moves would you like to see happen? Let us know in the comments!