We all know that you see lightning before you hear the thunder, because light travels faster then sound. However, Oklahoma City turned the laws of physics upside down on February 19th, 2015. Once the trades were completed, everyone around the league heard the Thunder; now they’re just waiting for the lightning to strike.
This is one set of trades that I can wholeheartedly agree with everyone, as they are as solid as a rock. The Thunder simply got much better with the addition of two undervalued shooters, a quality point guard and a young big who has huge potential.
I think Kanter will be a driving force behind Durant and Westbrook staying long-term. They will be able to convince him to sign to a very reasonable long-term contract, simply be a use he’s going to be so overwhelmed with happiness to be on a championship-quality team after starting his career in Utah, a perennial bottom-feeder. He will be glad to take less to be teammates with Durant and Westbrook, who in return will be happy to stay knowing they have a wonderful long-term championship window with a core of them, Ibaka, and Kanter. Sorry Steven Adams, but once Kanter gets his defense going, your going to have to ride the bench again.
I’m amazed that Utah gave up Steve Novak to the Thunder like he was a burden. Yes he was a burden for the Jazz, but for a team like OKC? He’s a huge asset with his shooting, and the first rule of negotiations is its not how much what your trading means to you, but how much it means to them. I would say the same with Pistons and Kyle Singler; he’s another great shooter that OKC really needed, but at least they got someone they value in Reggie Jackson back for him.
The Thunder took two starters off other teams in Kanter and Singler, and now have them coming off the bench. They may not be as valuable as say Igoudala coming off the bench for the Warriors, but with Kanter it’s close. Overall, they are simply a much more lethal team, who got exactly what they needed to keep their offense afloat. With DJ Augustine as their new backup PG, they now have someone who can calmly run the offense when Westbrook sits.
Not only that, but now they have reliable offense threats coming off the bench, so the offense won’t stagnate when the second units comes in, something that has been a problem with OKC ever since they traded Harden.
They gave up a first-round pick, but thanks to the complexity of protections, it’s hard to say exactly when it’s going to be conveyed. On paper it’s a 2017 top-14 protected pick from 2017-2020, and if it’s not conveyed in those years, it turns into 2020 and 2021 second-round pick. Except the CBA states that you can’t convey first-round picks in consecutive years. Their first-round pick this year is top-18 protected, so if they don’t make the playoffs, then the 2017 pick they just traded automatically gets pushed back to 2018.
Grade: A+; There’s really no arguement that the Thunder definitely were the most improved on trade deadline day, and without sacrificing their short- or long-term goals. This was an alley-oop off the backboard to themselves for a 360 Tomahawk jam type of trading day.
(P.S. Let me just say this reignites my hatred for the Clay Bennett, the owner of the Thunder. Clay Bennett stole the Supersonics from Seattle, and now I get to watch them be one of the best run organizations in the NBA. I love everything they do, the players they have, and the decisions they make. THIS SHOULD BE HAPPENING IN WASHINGTON!!! </endrant>)