NBA chat: Anthony Slater talks LeBron James, Thunder free agency and the trade exception

Anthony Slater jumped on the Power Lunch chat today to talk about LeBron James's impending free agency, the Thunder's chances of getting into the LeBronathon, and OKC's free agency options. Here's the full transcript:
by Anthony Slater Modified: June 24, 2014 at 9:48 am •  Published: June 24, 2014

m.<
/span> I'm with you in some ways. Shumpert seems a bit overrated. If the Thunder can get him for the 29th pick (and don't need that asset for any other package deal), then sure. He could possibly contribute. But to me, he's not much different than Thabo. Solid defender, not great on offense.
Shawn 11:03 a.m. I'm not asking should they or would they, but what I want to know is if there is any conceivable way the Thunder could even work up the cap room to get LeBron. Amnestying Perk would be a start, but could they do enough after that to make it theoretically possible (outside of trading one of the big 3)?
Anthony Slater 11:06 a.m. Not unless LeBron was basically willing to take the mid-level exception. OKC has a ton of money locked up to its key guys: KD ($20 mil), Westbrook ($16 mil), Ibaka ($12.25 mil). So even if they wanted to strip the rest of their roster bare, they wouldn't have near enough. LeBron has as good a chance of playing for the Tulsa 66ers as the Thunder next season.
Redneck Joe 11:07 a.m. Anthony, James playing for the Thunder is not going to happen, sorry to say, end of story. Dak Gum it,,,What a line up that would be,,,Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and James. With that line up the Thunder could win with only four playing, the only need for a fifth player would be to just high five the others, if that was really needed.
Anthony Slater 11:07 a.m. Yep. Not gonna happen. Unless it's in an All-Star game.
Billy in 4C 11:07 a.m. I know the talk of the town has been about the upcoming draft and free agency and trades (I like Shumpert over Miles). But do you see Perry Jones having a huge summer and eventually replacing Collison in the rotation this next season? He's so athletic and has a smooth shot, the upside with him on the floor could be huge.
Anthony Slater 11:08 a.m. I think, ideally, that's what the Thunder would want. They'd love for Perry Jones to come into camp next season vastly improved and basically rip playing time away from some of the veterans. And he has the physical capabilities. But he hasn't shown near enough, consistently, to think that'll happen. We'll see.
Josh of Ish 11:08 a.m. How bad is the east if Lebron and Melo head west?
Anthony Slater 11:09 a.m. Was thinking that earlier this morning. You thought the East was historically bad and the West historically good last season? Imagine if LeBron goes to Houston and Melo goes to Dallas, or something of the sort. It'll basically be like the MLB and AAA.
Guest 11:10 a.m. what about Isaiah Thomas. He is a cheap restricted free agent. We can then use Reggie Jackson as the starting 2 and have Thomas for a 3rd point guard.
Anthony Slater 11:11 a.m. He'd be a great fit. Immediate offense of the bench. I'm sure the Thunder would love to have him. But from his perspective, I don't see it. He's looking for more money, more playing time, more shots and likely a starting role. That won't come in OKC.
Greg 11:11 a.m. Any chance that OKC gets Kyle Lowry form the FA?
Anthony Slater 11:11 a.m. Too much money and he won't come to a place that already has a superstar point guard (Westbrook) and an emerging one (Jackson).
Tommy 11:12 a.m. Could you imagine a lineup looking like Westbrook afflalo Mike Miller durant and serge?
Anthony Slater 11:13 a.m. Yeah, I'd take that a step further:

Starters
Westbrook
Afflalo
Durant
Ibaka
Adams

Reserves
Jackson
Miller
Lamb
Collison
Perk
LM 11:13 a.m. Thoughts on finding a way to trade up for Randle if he falls to the 8-10 range.
Austin 11:14 a.m. you've talked about this before but if marcus smart somehow falls to 12, do you see OKC going up and getting him?
Anthony Slater 11:15 a.m. I think that'd be an ideal move for OKC on draft night. A dream scenario. But it would take help from a willing partner. Because this class is so loaded, somebody is going to fall. And the Thunder has assets to offer to move up. It'll just hinge on a team looking to stockpile a ton of minor players instead of grabbing a potentially major one in that #10-#14 range.
Anthony Slater 11:16 a.m. As for Randle and Smart, both would fit great with the Thunder. Randle probably more needed.
Dra 11:16 a.m. Would OKC really give up Lamb to get Afflalo? I mean... we all want them to, but do you honestly see it happening? Seems unlikely to me
Anthony Slater 11:16 a.m. Doubt they'd pull the trigger. But I think it would be worth it.
Jay 11:17 a.m. If Lebron go to Houston will this make it an official rivalry, between Thunder vs Houston because of the James Harden trade..
Anthony Slater 11:17 a.m. In my eyes, it's already the Thunder's best rivalry. Tossing LeBron in there would only liven it up even more.
MC 11:17 a.m. What is your intuition on Reggie's contract? Does he resign this summer? If so, for how much?
Anthony Slater 11:18 a.m. My guess: He doesn't resign this summer, hits restricted free agency next offseason, but eventually returns to OKC.
Phil 11:19 a.m. Is Jimmy Bulter an option for the thunder? If Chicago is trying to clear space for Melo?
Anthony Slater 11:20 a.m. Doubt Jimmy Butler will be available. Bulls may have to clear space, but they'll likely think of other ways to do it. But maybe a guy like Mike Dunleavy could come on the cheap.
Guest 11:20 a.m. lamb or PJ3 who more likely gets moved on draft day
Anthony Slater 11:20 a.m. Don't think either will, but if I had to bet, I'd say PJ3.
Certified 11:20 a.m. These are names in order I think OKC should target, what you think? 1. Aaron Affalo 2. Iman Shumpert 3. Lance Stephenson 4. Trevor Ariza 5. Vince Carter 6. CJ Miles 7. Shannon Brown 8. G. Vasquez 9. Caron Butler 10. Wesley Johnson 11. Kent Bazemore 12. Mike Miller 13. Randy Foye 14. Patty Mills Resign Reggie Jackson he would be #2 on list; would try to land Affalo first Resign Thabo for no more than 1.9 mil
Anthony Slater 11:21 a.m. Solid list, but I wouldn't have Shumpert anywhere near that high. Lance Stephenson is too costly and likely wouldn't come to OKC anyway. I'd move Mike Miller and Patty Mills a lot higher.
Cole 11:22 a.m. Why does everyone think the Thunder need a low post scorer? Look around the league at how many teams have low post scorer, how many of them are effective? It's a shooters league.
Anthony Slater 11:23 a.m. Low-post scorers are great. But they're a rare breed these days. Only a handful in the league that are actually worth dumping down 20+ times a game. So if OKC doesn't have Al Jefferson or Zach Randolph or the sort, they're better off going more perimeter, pass-oriented.
Guest 11:24 a.m. what about Gary Neal?
Anthony Slater 11:24 a.m. A thought. He's a Maryland native who knows KD well and he can really shoot it. I'd place him in that second tier, the guys to go after once other offseason plans don't materialize.
Travis 11:24 a.m. Do you think brooks will start Adams over perk next year? Also is there anyone in the draft that could make a differnece next year for us?
Anthony Slater 11:25 a.m. Yes to both. I think Adams will start next season, as he should. And this draft seems to be loaded with potential impact guys. The Thunder just has to identify them, which has been a strength of this front office in the past.
Clint 11:25 a.m. How much money do the Thunder have to plat around with in free agency? And do yo see Spencer's Hawes as a realistic possibility for the Thunder?
Anthony Slater 11:26 a.m. Not a ton, but potentially more after draft night. The mid-level exception is there, as is the potential use of that $6.6 million trade exception (not a free agency tool, but a way to add a player). Spencer Hawes is an interesting thought, but with Perk expected back (along with Adams), I doubt OKC goes after him.
Anthony Slater 11:27 a.m. Ok, guys. Thanks for all the great questions and sorry to those I didn't get to. Got to run. Talk to you again Friday, following what should be an important draft.
by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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