It's getting to be that time in the season. Teams are figuring out that their current roster isn't going to go anywhere, and they need to offload their problems on someone else FAST. Big names are circulating around the rumor mill, and it's definitely possible to pick up a very talented player for cheap.
With the Thunder in the midst of a win streak, it might seem silly to talk trade. But let's be real. Reggie Jackson's contract is set to expire, and the Thunder are going to have a hard time paying him. If the right deal came along that could put Oklahoma City in a better position, Presti would take it.
Obviously, any GM of a successful team is going to have a hard time pulling the trigger on a deal this early into the season. But let's just say, for the sake of argument, that Presti wants to shake things up early. He doesn't like what he's seen in certain areas of the team, and wants to shake things up while there's still time to integrate major new pieces. It would be a change of pace, but it wouldn't be unthinkable.....
Anyway, here's some of the names that have been dangled around the rumor mill. I'll riff on each one, and if it sounds like something we might like, throw together a trade proposal in the 'ol machine.
Detroit Pistons: Josh Smith (3 Years, $42 Million) (link)
I'm searching for the right words. Maybe "Not with a ten foot pole?"
Charlotte Hornets: Lance Stephenson (3 Years, $27 Million) (link)
From a strictly basketball perspective, this makes sense. Sure, Stephenson benefits from the fact that there aren't enough good shooting guards in this league, but he's a legitimately good two-way player. Morrow might be nearly as good as Stephenson offensively, and Roberson might be as good as Stephenson defensively. But Stephenson brings the best of both worlds. Just imagining him running breaks Durant and Westbrook has me salivating.
But let's bring reality into the picture here for a minute. Lance is in the midst of his worst season in three years, shooting sub-40% from the field and just 15% from three. Stephenson also loves to dribble the basketball, and the Thunder just don't have that many offensive possessions to go around. Is his sub 2.0 assist to turnover ratio really worth trading away Reggie Jackson?
Furthermore, Stephenson's personality has rightfully been called into question. He's infamous for being part of the Pacers' locker room collapse last year, which was just a shame for everyone involved. Stephenson also pulls a bunch of silly extracurricular horseplay on the court, like blowing in people's ears. It's hard to see him fitting in with the Thunder. I will say that Stephenson might have been much more likely to come to OKC had Telfair still been on the roster. Stephenson and Telfair both went to Lincoln High in New York and played under the same coach.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Dion Waiters (1 Year, $4 Million. Team Option next year for $5 Mil) (link)
Reportedly, the Cavaliers are looking for a rim-protecting center in return. The name that's been floated around is Kosta Koufos, of the Memphis Grizzlies. Obviously, the Thunder would have a bit more trouble matching this offer. Adams is definitely too valuable to part with, and Perkins isn't exactly known as a presence in the lane. Really, OKC just doesn't have the right player to do this deal with. And I'm for real in saying that trading Adams for Waiters would be silly as all heck.
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez ($$$$$$rubles) (link)
All of these players are on salaries that only teams in gigantic metropolises can afford. Until I trade my car ride past cow fields for a subway cruise, there's no way the Thunder would be able to acquire any of these folks. We're talking combining three players just to get Lopez, the lowest salaried of them all.
Boston Celtics: Rajon Rondo (1 Year, $12.9 Million) (link)
Do the Thunder need another point guard? The possibility of being able to slide Westbrook over to shooting guard is entertaining, buuuuut.....we've been through too much crap. Westbrook is a point guard. End of story.
Boston Celtics: Jeff Green (1 Year, $9.5 Million. Player Option next year for $9.5 Mil) (link)
Okay, so I really really really really want Jeff Green back. I think that trading for Perk was a definite needed change of pace for Oklahoma City in 2010. The Thunder needed to deal with the big men that were dominating the league at the time, and Jeff Green simply didn't work as a stretch four. But now it's almost 2015, and the NBA has changed. Stretch fours are becoming more and more athletic. Wouldn't it be cool to have a lineup with Ibaka, Durant, Green, Morrow, and Westbrook? I could see that lineup offensively shredding anything you threw at it.
And if you've forgotten how good Jeff Green is, check out this breakdown of his game by Kevin O'Connor over at CelticsBlog. He's got the strength and skill that he just didn't have 5 years ago. Also, you could re-live the memories on YouTube! This dude was a serious part of Thunder history.
Anyway, here's the bad news if we want to get Jeff Green. We're gonna have to give up Reggie Jackson. It's the perfect fit, since Reggie spent three years at Boston College and is looking to prove himself as a starter. With Rondo on his way out of Boston and a young roster full of scorers, the situation couldn't be more ideal. Any trade negotiations for Jeff Green would end if the Thunder refused to include him.
Here's two potential deals....
This one's a hard pill to swallow. Is acquiring Jeff Green for what could be a one-year rental really worth getting rid of three productive bench players? On the other hand, the Thunder could simply be throwing all of their problems away. Jackson's expiring himself, Collison's losing usefulness, Lamb's seemingly not going to pan out, and Jerrett is expendable.
Still, this would generate some measure of controversy. Do we really bring Jeff Green off the bench? Or do you bench Adams? If you bench Adams, how do you get minutes for Perk? It would really be a bit of a mess. I don't necessarily love this trade, but it's something I could see the Celtics accepting. Lamb and Jerrett are legitimate prospects, and the Celtics are still developing. The Thunder might have to throw in a pick for good measure, but I could see something along these lines.
(Also note that I used one of Boston's trade exceptions to make this one work.)
This trade brings its' own set of issues. Do the Thunder really benefit from dishing away their locker room leader? Are the Celtics really willing to accept Reggie Jackson as equal value for Jeff Green? Is Perk's expiring contract really that valuable?
Still, the lineups this trade has me thinking about.....oh man. I'd love to see Green back in OKC. At any reasonable cost.
Have a trade of your own? Did I miss a rumor? Drop a comment and let us know!