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Friday Bolts: Trade Deadline

Friday Bolts: Trade Deadline

Entering the NBA trade deadline, the annual event that makes Twitter a bearable place to be, it was near certain that the Thunder would not be making any splashy trades.  In fact, there was a belief among many that OKC may stand entirely pat.

Well, despite the blockbusters that went down (KEVIN DURANT TO THE SUNS! RUSSELL WESTBROOK TO THE JAZZ!), OKC did make a few moves that at least will make some noise in the southern plains.

First, OKC traded fan-favorite Mike Muscala (aka Moose) to the Boston Celtics.  Though not entirely a shock--the sharpshooter is exactly the kind of midseason vet pickup that a contending team wants to make--it's painful to Thunder fans because of how beloved Muscala was by the fans, and also because of how clear Moose was about his love of OKC and the Thunder.

Mike Muscala trade reveals a lot about the OKC Thunder rotation
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Thunder trade Mike Muscala to Celtics | NBA.com
Oklahoma City has dealt veteran center Mike Muscala to Oklahoma City for Justin Jackson and 2 future Draft picks.

As a part of the trade, Oklahoma City picked up Justin Jackson and two second-round picks (2023, 2029).

The second and last trade of the day sent Darius Bazley to Phoenix to be reunited with Chris Paul for Dario Saric and a second-round pick (2029).  This one was not surprising at all, as Bazley's minutes become increasing fewer and more inconsistent among the bevy of young players on the roster.

Suns land Darius Bazley in trade with Thunder | NBA.com
Oklahoma City acquires Dario Saric and a future second-round pick in trade for Darius Bazley.

Dario Saric is an intriguing addition.  The 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Saric has had a productive NBA career, but is still regaining form after suffering an ACL tear in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.  Saric has appeared in 37 games (12 starts) this season for the Suns and averaged 5.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 14.4 minutes per game.

Oh, and about that blockbuster Kevin Durant trade, Berry Trammel (The Oklahoma) tried to answer the question that I imagine few were asking--why didn't OKC try to land KD?

The thought of bringing back Durant is a pleasant dream. His departure was abrupt. He went from Superman to Lex Luthor before the firecrackers started popping on that fateful July 4. Bringing back Durant would bring closure to a horror show. But patching old wounds is not worth submarining the Presti rebuild. The Thunder is getting good and fast, the plan is working to near perfection, so why would anyone want to abandon the plan?
Tramel: Why neither time, nor money, was right for Thunder to trade for Kevin Durant
The Thunder has something special building, but it’s too early to go all-in on a trade, even for Kevin Durant

In other news, the Thunder went to Los Angeles on Tuesday to take on the Lakers with Lebron James just 36 points shy of being leading scorer in NBA history.  Though James reached the pinnacle in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, OKC came away with the win.  The victory was even more impressive considering the hoopla surrounding the game, with over 200 media being granted credentials, and the game being broadcast nationally.  It was a playoff-like atmosphere, which can only benefit the young Thunder, who are on the fringe of the play-in game.