The Oklahoma City Thunder are an interesting team as today’s NBA trade deadline approaches. Long known as a franchise not willing to enter the luxury tax, the Thunder may have no choice if they want to keep Westbrook when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
According to The Vertical’s, Shams Charania the Thunder have acquired Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a second round draft pick in 2018 from the Bulls for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Good move for OKC. They get a nice haul and didn’t have to give up much. The question is, how does this play into re-signing Andre Roberson and keeping the core intact around Russel Westbrook?
Like it or not, the league is reacting to the Cavs and Warriors. The goal of every franchise, ok maybe not every, but most is to win a championship. Everyone knows you need superstar players and the right role players. The Thunder are in an interesting place going forward. They have, arguably the league’s best point guard in Westbrook, some decent young talent in Adams, Oladipo and Kanter. But that and the rest of that roster is not enough to contend for a title. They are currently the 7th seed but only 3.5 games back of the #4 seed.
Making these moves and re-signing soon to be free agent Andre Roberson this offseason, and hopefully re-signing Gibson will push the Thunder into the luxury tax. But, it will show Westbrook the team is willing to do what is necessary to surround him with talent and put he and the team in the best position to win. Interesting that the Thunder would be willing to pay the luxury tax now, considering they wouldn’t do the same to re-sign Harden years ago. That move is believed to be one of the many reasons KD chose to leave via free agency last summer. The Thunder can’t risk that happening again with Russ in 2019.