[Note by CBrenner, 02/13/13 11:13 PM CST ](The 2013 NBA trade deadline is February 21st at 3PM ET. WTLC is exploring potential trade ideas that could bolster the Thunder's chances during their playoff run.)
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What the Thunder need:
A low post, back to the basket, scoring center
When the Boston Celtics traded for Kendrick Perkins to the Thunder in 2011 he was the perfect fit to what OKC was missing. He instantly added a veteran presence with championship experience to a team that was very green and who's major stars had very little playoff seasoning. Perkins impact was felt immediately with his physical defense and a nasty streak that showed the rest of the Thunder what it took to win in the post season. For lack of a better word Perkins became an enforcer for the Thunder and it allowed Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook's offensive games to continue to flourish.
Well that was two years ago and now things have changed for both parties. Perkins' lack of offense skill set along with the decline in the athleticism that made him such a good defender means that the Thunder need to look for a better option at the center position. Perkins defensive ability really fits to cover a certain type of offensive player. The traditional lost post, back to the basketball offensive center. That is a dying breed in the NBA. There are only a handful of players who would fall into that category. I would put Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Andrew Bynum, Roy Hibbert and DeMarcus Cousins (if you count him as a center) as players who fit that mold. The NBA is an offensive transition game right now and Perk just doesn't fit in it. That showed in the NBA Finals last season vs. the Miami Heat. The previously mentioned centers all have low post games along with the necessary offensive skills and athleticism to survive and in some cases thrive in the transition NBA.
Thunder need someone they can throw the ball to in the low post and let him do work. Offenses tend to stall in the half court in the playoffs and jump shots that usually fall tend to rim out. Being able to score in paint is crucial to winning playoffs games.
Here are two trade scenarios that could solve the Thunder's dearth of offensive production at the center position.
Jefferson is one of the more skilled offensive centers in the NBA right now. He fits everything the Thunder need in a low post scorer. He has a wide variety of low post moves and rarely has moments in the post where he doesn't get the exact shot he wants.
Jefferson is an expensive ($15 Million) one year rental for the Thunder. He can also become a black hole on offense. The ball goes into the paint and rarely comes out. Also, they would lose Jeremy Lamb who I am a huge fan of and expect to be a damn fine player in the NBA.
This is a move that is too tempting for the Thunder to pass up. They are currently on a crash course for a rematch with the Heat in the NBA Finals. One thing the Heat struggle with is offensive centers force their smaller front court to D up. See Roy Hibbert last year in the playoffs. Thunder are in the rare win now and win long term window. But you can never take anything for granted and when the opportunity is there to win a title you do everything to accomplish it. Also, there is the added incentive that if the Thunder trade for Jefferson it prevents the Spurs from acquiring him.
Toronto Raptors trade Andrea Bargnani for Kendrick Perkins and Perry Jones.
Bragnani has plenty of offensive game. He has a jumper that he can hit from almost any spot on the floor. He is also under contract for three more years at a somewhat affordable $10 million.
Shooting from deep is really all he does. He has very little low post game and even less on the defensive front. He makes Al Jefferson look like Dwight Howard on defense.
I wish I had an extra set of hands so I could give this trade four thumbs down. It does not address the need for low post scoring. The only intriguing part is that if he was on the Thunder there is a great possibility that they could hit 98 threes in a single game.
What do you think?