Breaking Down the Chucky Atkins Trade
First, the particulars: OKC gets 10-year veteran point guard Chucky Atkins, a 2009 first-round draft pick and cash from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for reserve center Johan Petro and a 2009 second-round draft pick.
Why it makes sense for the Thunder: For starters, the first-round draft pick potentially gives the team three in this year’s draft — its own (which at this rate has the best chance to be the No. 1 pick and will be no worse than fourth overall), San Antonio’s and Denver’s if the Nuggets make the playoffs. Atkins also gives the Thunder a solid veteran point guard who can lead the team when called upon and mentor rookie Russell Westbrook every day in practice. The deal also balances the roster, adding a third point guard and helping to clear up a frontcourt that became even more bloated with the arrival of Nenad Krstic.
Why it makes sense for Denver: The Nuggets were primarily looking to get under the salary cap’s tax threshold, which was set at $71.15 million for this season. This was the final deal in a series of maneuvers the Nuggets have made to ensure they finish the season under that figure. By doing so, the Nuggets not only will avoid a dollar fee for each dollar they exceeded that mark, but they also become eligible to now receive a share of the league’s tax revenue by getting under the threshold. Denver also added a serviceable center to its shallow frontcourt rotation of Nene Hilario, Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen. Because of the cap relief, the move makes it possible for Denver to possibly make another trade or two before the Feb. 19 deadline as well.
What it means for the Thunder’s roster: Not much. Not immediately anyway. From the moment the deal went public, fans assumed (or perhaps prayed) backup point guard Earl Watson would be the next one on a one-way flight out of OKC. Not so fast. It’s not so easy to trade a reserve guard who’s carrying a $6.2 million contract this season and a $6.6 million price tag next year. The Thunder’s front office is certainly working on finding Watson a new home, but it has to be the right deal and that deal might not come until closer to the deadline. Until then, look for Watson to continue serving as Westbrook’s backup and Atkins to see spot minutes as the third string. But don’t be surprised if Brooks uses all three in a mix-and-match method, playing Atkins at point and Westbrook at shooting guard or trotting out Watson and Atkins in the same lineup or Watson and Westbrook, which he has done throughout the season. Minutes for rookie guard Kyle Weaver just became harder to come by. But the goal this season is to evaluate and develop talent so at some point Weaver likely will get whatever minutes Atkins might take from him in the short term.
What does Atkins bring: Aside from the aforementioned experience and veteran leadership, he’s regarded as a legit 3-point shooting threat. Atkins undoubtedly will be used in late-game situations as another weapon who can knock down a critical shot. He’s a career 36.8 percent shooter from behind the 3-point line and made 306 3s two seasons ago in Memphis when he averaged 13.2 points and 4.6 assists in 75 games with the Grizzlies. He holds career averages of 10.4 points, 3.6 assists and 1.8 rebounds and enjoyed a career year in 2004-05 with the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 13.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds while starting all 82 games. (That was the one year the Lakers didn’t make the playoffs in the past 14 seasons after finishing 34-48.)
What to know about Atkins: Full name is Kenneth Lavon Atkins…He’s a fan of the Dallas Cowboys…Went undrafted out of South Florida…Started pro career with the LaCrosse Bobcats of the former Continental Basketball Association in LaCrosse, Wisc. 1996…Played for Cibona Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia from 1997-999 before beginning his NBA career with Orlando in 1999…Has been traded five times in his career…Recorded a career-high 36 points against Miami on March 2, 2001…Dished a career-high 16 assists against Minnesota on April 18, 2007.
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 10457Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 9286Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 5848Downtown wish list includes Super Target
- 4983Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 4420Oklahoma City pastor will face trial in fatal shooting of son-in law
- 4301Oklahoma tornadoes: Price family recovering after some heavy blows
- 4216How to help tornado victims
- 4195Oklahoma tornadoes: Lack of storm shelters floors newcomers to Tornado Alley
- 4147Woman's body found in Payne County; two arrested
- 4123OU softball: Sooners inspired by Casey Angle, run-rule Texas A&M
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients