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Thunder Stand Pat at Trade Deadline

Thunder Stand Pat at Trade Deadline

Despite reportedly being a close participant in trade talks that would have sent Danilo Gallinari from Oklahoma City to Miami in exchange for some combination of players and/or draft compensation from the Heat and Grizzlies, Oklahoma City has not completed any deals involving Gallinari or other players on the roster by today’s 2:00pm NBA trade deadline.

The hold-up on that potential deal was at least in part due to stalled negotiations for an immediate extension of Gallinari by the Heat that would have made him more than an acquisition on an expiring contract. Instead, he’ll finish the season with the Thunder, who could potentially pen him to a longer deal themselves to either keep the 31-year-old forward with the team beyond 2019-20 or as a maneuver to trade him to a different suitor.

There was never any firm reporting on a would-be return package for the Thunder, but reasonable estimates included expiring contracts and the sweetening of the 2023 Miami first round draft pick (already owed to the Thunder and protected from 1-14) via lifted protections and/or additional draft compensation made possible by that modification.

No other player was credibly rumored to be dealt, with very minimal reporting characterizing interest in a Dennis Schroder trade as a virtual one-way street from opposing teams.

Trading Gallinari, in a vacuum, would have made the 2019-20 Thunder worse without seriously jeopardize their playoff hopes (they moved into a tie for sixth in the Western Conference standings with their win against Cleveland last night). Instead the sharpshooter will remain on the roster along with fellow veteran players Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Schroder–players who have both buoyed the team to their surprising 31-20 record while also being speculated as potential trade material. Unlike Gallinari, those other players are under contract beyond this season.

Since arriving in Oklahoma City in the blockbuster Paul George trade last summer, Gallinari was frequently cited as the most valuable and likely trade chip for Executive Vice President & General Manager Sam Presti to deal away ahead of today’s deadline. The forward has continued his career-best play from last season by averaging 19.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game on a .442/.410/.903 slash line for the Thunder in 2019-20. But, as the team exceeded expectations, the certainty of Gallinari’s departure waned in reporting around the league, with some reports even suggesting the Thunder could be looking to upgrade the roster around players like Gallinari.

If nothing else, the lack of a move indicates that Presti hasn’t dramatically shifted his priorities since the summer. After trading away George and franchise cornerstone Russell Westbrook, he repeatedly stated a commitment to a long term “replenishing” and rebuilding project for the Thunder that wouldn’t be sacrificed to short-term competitive concerns. He also insisted that the rebuild was not yet in full swing. The Thunder were apparently willing to part with some of their talent, but weren’t going to diminish a playoff roster without netting the right value in return.

Reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN), Dave McMenamin (ESPN), and Tim Reynolds (AP) was relied upon for this story.