Trade deadline much more quiet this year
Last year’s trade deadline brought a seismic shift in size and attitude to the Thunder with the acquisitions of centers Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed.
Thursday’s trade deadline brought no new personnel, though there was the feel of a new acquisition with guard Thabo Sefolosha returning to the starting lineup for that night’s game at Denver.
Sefolosha had missed the last 23 games with an injured right foot. Including a start he missed earlier in the season because of the flu, the Thunder was 16-8 without Sefolosha and 16-2 with him.
OKC coach Scott Brooks said his locker room had a welcome lift with the return of the 27-year-old from Switzerland.
“There’s no question everybody’s excited to have him back,” Brooks said. “He’s one of the premier defenders in the league. He loves to defend. He can defend 1s, 2s and 3s, so we have options on who we can put him on, who has the hot hand. He just has the knack for getting after it every time down on the defensive end. That’s a great asset to have.”
Brooks said he will slowly build Sefolosha’s playing minutes.
“(We’ve) done everything we can do other than put him in a game situation,” Brooks said. “There’s always a difference between practice shape and game shape. It’s going to take some time, but that’s expected for any player that’s been out close to seven weeks.”
Sefolosha said the most difficult part of sitting out since Jan. 27 was “knowing I couldn’t help.”
The fact the Thunder went 3-3 in its last six games made Sefolosha want to come back even sooner. “It’s never fun to see your team lose … even though (overall) we’re in a great spot, in a great situation right now.”
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