Happy deadline day. The Thunder are likely to be active today, so a lot could happen. Or not, because sometimes nothing happens when you think it will.
Will the Thunder look different after 2 p.m. passes? Who could they trade? And what’s a realistic deal worth thinking about? Let’s 3-on-3:
1. True or false: The Thunder make a trade by the end of business Thursday.
Royce Young: True. However, the Thunder are operating under an “opportunistic trade” mantra, looking to try and leach off other teams trying to dump salary or poorly fit players. They’ve been aggressive, but they’re also selective. There’s noise the Brook Lopez talks are heating up again. I think the Thunder want to get something done, even if it’s small.
Jon Hamm: Falsely True. Truly False. “True” by Spandau Ballet. Wait, what was the question again? My original answer was false, but I’m shifting back to true. It doesn’t feel like conditions are favorable to make a good trade, but in light of the Reggie Jackson situation, Sam Presti may need to make the best one he can. He won’t make a trade just for the sake of making one. The team doesn’t HAVE to make a trade, despite what Reggie Jackson and/or his agent may want. But it may be time to cleanse the bad karma and move on.
Ryan Woods: True. I’d be surprised to see this team the same when they take the floor against the Mavs. Presti has already been reported as one of the most active GM’s as the deadline approaches so it appears a move is coming.
2. Most likely player to be traded?
Young: Reggie Jackson. The story leaking out about Jackson’s agent requesting a trade is a bit of desperation from his camp, but it’s a leverage move that could work. Jackson isn’t especially well liked in the Thunder locker room and with this situation, there’s a chance the chemistry could grow more toxic. The Thunder are having their hands forced, something that they don’t like much, but in the end, a parting of ways could be best for all involved parties.
Hamm: I’ll be super unoriginal and say Jackson is most likely to be traded. He may need to be packaged with other players, so Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb, and Perry Jones might want to set up alerts for tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski. I bet Presti is in his office listening to Maroon 5’s “Better That We Break” right now.
Woods: Jeremy Lamb. I could see the Thunder holding onto Reggie for the playoffs if they can’t get adequate value in return for him, but Lamb’s time in OKC has been done for weeks now. Remember that slick stepback game winner he had in the Orlando Summer League a couple years ago? Those were the days, man. Whether it’s for a pick or a trade exception I think Lamb is the most likely player packing his bags.
3. Indulge the hive mind: What’s your best (realistic) trade for the Thunder to make?
Young: It’s hard to come up with a Reggie Jackson deal that tastes good and realistic. The interested suitors are said to be the Celtics, Pacers, Rockets and Nuggets. But with the Nets supposedly considering taking on Jackson, it opens the door for a deal to land Lopez. Another one to watch: Jackson to the Pistons for D.J. Augustin, Kyle Singler and their first round pick (likely a low lottery selection). Augustin is a solid backup point guard for Russell Westbrook, Singler is a 40 percent 3-point shooter that could play a little small forward in smallball lineups (and is expiring this summer) and obviously a lottery pick would be great.
Hamm: Until Brook Lopez is traded somewhere other than Oklahoma City, I think the most likely trade scenario is the old Perkins, Lamb and Jerrett (which would be an awesome name for a law firm) for Lopez. There seems to be a lot of posturing going on in Brooklyn, so that dead deal could come back to life “The Walking Dead”-style. That could trigger a follow-up deal involving Jackson, perhaps to Sacramento or Indiana or FC Barcelona. Or maybe there is no Lopez deal and OKC pivots another direction. Want a long shot deal? Package Jackson, Perkins and others for Ty Lawson.
Woods: Perkins-Lamb-Jerrett for Brook Lopez. What’s funny is that this deal is actually realistic. With the Nets trying to shed big contracts Lopez, a top-5 center when healthy, is available and Presti loves him. The schematics of this offense wouldn’t have to totally change, but just having the threat of affective post touches would be a deadly wrinkle. Lopez is a great screen-setter and is averaging 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in a “down” year.