We are approximately a quarter way through the season and we are still unsure of the plan of the Oklahoma City Thunder. They still have some good talented players who simply do not fit the scheme of what they want to achieve, and have a mix of veterans and very young players without any real direction yet.
After trading their star duo in Westbrook and George away to Western Conference rivals, they still have not moved veteran players that they received in the trades. And they have also not moved some remnants of the team from last year, that simply do not fit the Thunder’s rebuilding plan. They must start acquiring more picks and more young players so that their rebuild is accelerated into the near future.
The more the Thunder lose games this season, the better. So here are the players who must be moved as soon as possible.
After moving on from their franchise star in Russell Westbrook, the Thunder acquired an aging Chris Paul who is getting paid a boatload of money. They still have not traded him, and his value does not seem to be getting higher by the waiting second. In fact, he is getting older and teams who were interested might not be wanting to take the leap anymore.
The Thunder need to move Paul’s albatross of a contract in order to clear cap space and facilitate a rebuilding process with picks, young players, and plenty of room to sign players. Paul is still a very good floor general who is also draining around 38% of his three-point shots, so teams (such as the Bucks) might want him to relieve ball-handling pressure form Giannis and also add some shooting.
The next good offer the Thunder get, they must act on it.
Gallinari is a big forward who can spread the floor very well. He has greatly improved his game, dating back to last year, and has improved as an overall scorer especially. Previously just a knock-down shooter who spotted up for threes, Gallinari can now attack the rim and finish inside with strength. His production took a spike last season and many were wondering if he can be an All-Star very soon.
He is clearly an effective scoring option for any team, and he does not help with the Thunder’s rebuilding plan. He is good enough to help them out of the bottom of the conference, which potentially means a lower quality pick. Moving him essentially entails a season-long commitment to tanking for good picks next year.
It is best to move Gallinari while he still has high value, and ask for young players and picks in return.
Steven Adams was developing into one of the best big men in the NBA last season and was forming a very effective partnership with Russell Westbrook. Their pick n roll was very deadly, and there wasn’t anything the defense could do to stop Adams’ floater in the lane. He is a big body who can defend and rebound and can even run the floor for easy layups on the break.
Now is the best time to move Adams, while his value is potentially the highest. He might never possess a strong post-game where he could score every time, but he is a very good player that teams will certainly be interested in. If the Thunder move him, they can target young big men with the potential to score and rebound, and an assortment of first-round picks to help them rebuild. Not to mention, they are clearing cap space from Adams’ contract.
The Thunder’s sixth man was very valuable for the team last year, as he brought playmaking and scoring off the bench in an almost instantaneous fashion. He might be good enough to start on most NBA teams but is proven he can be valuable backing up star guards such as Russell Westbrook. Many times during last season, it was Schroder who made big plays for the Thunder and kept them in tight games.
But he will soon be asking for a bigger contract, and the Thunder might not be interested in keeping him since he is a player who helps teams win games right now. Once again, the Thunder need to lose as much as possible in order to get higher quality draft picks and the only way to do this is by moving their veteran productive players.
Schroder might be a target for contending teams looking for depth at the point guard position, or even up and coming teams needing better point guard play (such as Dallas who rely mainly on Doncic).