So Long, Steven: Adams Traded to the Pelicans
So many sleeping Thunder fans will wake up from their Saturday morning snooze to some sombering Steven news.
While most of Oklahoma was nestled all snug in their beds, Woj dropped a bomb on Twitter’s head: OKC’s beloved Steven Adams was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
First things first, we all love Steven Adams so this is an emotional gut punch.
The Big Kiwi is hilarious, he’s down to earth, he’s the best interview in the NBA, he’s the toughest dude in the NBA, he’s the strongest dude in the NBA, he makes fun of himself, he says “mate” all the time and yet every time it’s still funny, his sister is somehow even more impressive than he is, he looks like Aquaman, he looks like Khal Drago, he takes elbows to the face and doesn’t flinch, he takes Draymond’s foot to his Little Kiwis and is still the most fertile, he eats more steak than Da Bears’ Super Fans, he wears shorts and flip flops to formal black tie events, he curses on live TV and it’s somehow endearing, his friendship with Enes Kanter made you believe in soulmates, and oh yeah he’s a pretty good basketball player too.
Because of all those reasons and more, it will take a beat before many fans can come to terms with the fact that OKC got a phenomenal return for arguably the second most revered Thunder player of all time behind Russell Westbrook (shout out to Nick Collison).
As of 3:45am, the full details of the multi-team trade were unknown, but the essential facts for Thunder fans are that OKC received a 2023 lottery protected Denver 1st round pick, two Pelicans 2nd round picks and, more than likely, Eric Bledsoe.
Considering Adams was on a $27.5 million expiring contract and many analysts feel his lack of shooting renders him a dinosaur in the new NBA, the compensation for Oklahoma City is impressive.
In the short term and off the court, it hurts to lose such a cherished Thunder mainstay.
In the long term and on the court, this is a home run of a deal for Oklahoma City.
Oh, quick side note, the Thunder simultaneously had two multi-team trades happening at once. James Johnson was traded to the Mavs in a three team deal, along with the Pistons, for league hot potato Trevor Ariza, Justin Jackson and two 2nd rounders. My quick reaction: 1. Oh yeah, James Johnson was on the team! 2. Wow, that’s a great return for wait who was it, oh yeah, James Johnson. 3. Trevor Ariza is so gonna get traded again for more draft picks.
But whatever, nobody cares about that deal right now.
We all knew the Thunder were rebuilding this season. We knew Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder would be gone. But we thought that maybe Adams could be Mr. Thunder 2.0, the new Nick who ushers in the next era of OKC basketball and instills the culture first cultivated so many years ago by the likes of Collison, Durant, Westbrook, Brooks, Harden, Ibaka, and Perkins.
But that Thunder culture, based as much as it is on community, family, character, hard work and resiliency, is ultimately centered on winning. OKC’s first decade of basketball was wildly successful. And that’s what this trade and the CP3 trade and the Schroder trade are all about: trying to bring a championship to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder want to become a contender again, and to do so, they’re going to have to make some difficult decisions. Trading Steven Adams is a gut-wrenching decision.
But it was the right one, mate.