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Deal or no deal: Will the Thunder make a move at the trade deadline?

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: February 12, 2011 at 10:41 pm •  Published: February 12, 2011

Taking back additional salary beyond the 2012-13 season, however, could pose a problem. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka are scheduled to get their bumps that year, and having Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and potentially Jeff Green still on the books along with another high-dollar deal could put a sizable squeeze on a small-market franchise like the Thunder.

But there are always options.

The Thunder has a glaring need for improved low-post scoring and defense and has been linked to players like Cleveland's Anderson Varejao and Denver's Nene, two centers who have carved out a niche playing their role alongside their respective stars. But Varejao is out for the year with a torn ankle tendon, and Nene can opt out of the final year of his deal this summer, making a trade for him risky since it would involve giving up valuable assets. Other players, like Los Angeles Clippers center Chris Kaman, have just one year remaining on their deals and could easily serve as an upgrade without threatening the current payroll structure.

But what makes the Thunder unique is its mix of success and youth. The Thunder entered Saturday night's game at Sacramento with a 33-18 record. The roster averages just 24.5 years of age.

So for as tempting as trading season can be, the Thunder is nowhere near a place where it has to make a move.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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