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Could the Thunder be the Third Man?

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There are several trade rumors floating around. Most of them seem to be lacking a third party to make them happen. Could Presti bring the Thunder into those negotiations? According to Yahoo! Sports "The Oklahoma City Thunder are a popular call for teams looking for a third team to aid in trades".

A few options that have been discussed in the national media are centered around Amar'e Stoudemire and Andre Iguodala. Obviously you've heard about the possible trade of Z and J.J. Hickson to Phoenix for Stoudemire, but have you heard that many other teams are stepping up their offers for Stoudemire?

Sources: Others up ante in bidding for Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire - ESPN
But reports that the five-time All-Star Stoudemire could be headed to Cleveland have led other clubs to spice up their offers to Phoenix, according to sources. The ball is now in Phoenix's court.

The Suns are mulling over whether the financial relief provided by Ilgauskas' $12 million contract -- they'll likely waive Ilgauskas after the trade -- and the young and talented Hickson are enough for them to part with an impact player like Stoudemire. And the Cavaliers have to be fairly certain that Stoudemire would be willing to re-sign with them before giving up the fast-improving Hickson.

However, according to sources, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, appears to be the Suns' top choice. So far, the Sixers have been leery of giving up their best player for Stoudemire. While Stoudemire has good relationships with LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal, some close to Stoudemire believe Miami -- where he lives during the summer -- is his first choice. Miami has pursued Stoudemire hard but has no one on its roster (besides Dwyane Wade) that interests Phoenix, according to sources. That includes Michael Beasley. So it would take a three-team deal for Stoudemire to be traded to the Heat.

Of course, Cleveland can also pursue three-team deals that would sweeten the offer for Phoenix.

So why doesn't OKC step in and make everyone happy? Could Miami get Stoudemire, Phoenix get Iguodala, and OKC get Dalembert, while 76ers cut costs and begin to rebuild? Basketball Propectus seems to think Presti will make a move...

Basketball Prospectus | Articles | Back and Forth: The NBA at the Break
You're gearing up for what could be a hectic week up to and including Thursday's trade deadline. Which teams do you think could most improve their standing by making a move?

KP: Basing this on the opportunity to really improve and realistic chance of making a move (for example, Denver will be hard pressed to do anything before the deadline), I'm going to go with a couple of unusual answers: Oklahoma City and Portland. Both of those teams could help their chances of getting home-court advantage and winning a playoff series this year by upgrading at the center position. What I didn't mention in last week's discussion of the Thunder defense was how remarkable it is that Oklahoma City is doing what it's doing with Nenad Krstic in the middle. The other top defenses in the league are anchored by Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett/Kendrick Perkins, Andrew Bynum/Pau Gasol and O'Neal/Varejao. Krstic doesn't belong in that group. The Blazers' need in the middle is obvious. Both Kevin Pritchard and Sam Presti are long-term thinkers, but they've stockpiled enough young talent that I don't think sacrificing a first-round pick would really hurt them too much and it could be the difference in one of those two teams reaching the second round for the first time.

Of course this is purely speculative, but a trade like this could go down. The deal could be sweetened for OKC by trading our 2010 1st round pick to the 76ers for Philly's 2011 1st round pick.

Why for the Suns: The Suns would acquire a star for Stoudemire and a good expiring contract.

Why for the 76ers: Philly would get three expiring contracts, a talented prospect in White, plus an extra pick in this year's draft. With expiring contracts the 76ers could shop for a free agent this summer.

Why for the Heat: Stoudemire's presence in Miami will ensure that Wade stays with the Heat. Plus they will still retain Jermaine O'Neal's expiring $23 million dollar contract so they can still make run for another free agent this summer.

Why for the Thunder: I've mentioned Dalembert a few other times already, so it may seem like I'm beating a dead horse, but he could be a nice two season upgrade. This would give Ibaka, Mullens, and any other possibly draftee time to develop. Also pushing back a 2010 for a better 2011 pick would be in the long term interest of the team. OKC would not lose any key players and still retain Harpering's expiring contract.

Obviously, my trade idea would technically make OKC the 4th team, but can you guys see such a scenario happening before the trade deadline?