OKC Thunder: Five things the Thunder has approaching the trading deadline

It's unlikely the Thunder will make a blockbuster deal before Thursday's deadline. But a smaller move is possible, and here's why.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: February 18, 2014
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photo - Sam Presti, general manager of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, answers questions during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sam Presti, general manager of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, answers questions during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Two open roster spots. OKC currently is carrying the minimum allowable number of players. The team entered the season with 14, one below the maximum, and moved to 13 after sending Gomes to Boston. That deal was a maneuver that supplied the Thunder slightly more wiggle room under the tax, while also setting up the team with flexibility to make another trade should the right opportunity present itself. The roster spots don't have to be filled. But they do make the Thunder an attractive and easy trade partner for teams looking to unload unwanted or unnecessary players.

Two potential first-round picks. The Thunder has its own first-rounder this year and potentially Dallas' if the Mavs finish with a top-10 record. With a stacked roster, and players already stashed overseas, the Thunder doesn't need two more first-round picks this year. But parting with them at this point seems unlikely … unless the right deal comes along. First-round picks are too precious, especially to cost-conscious teams like the Thunder. They present an annual opportunity to add cheap labor at a fraction of what it would cost in free agency. No team traded its first-round pick prior to the deadline last season. That should tell you how much the league values first-round selections.

An unnecessary but usable contract in Hasheem Thabeet. The third-string center has played in eight games this season. He's totaled 44 minutes. Yet he's on the books for what, at this point, is a costly $1.2 million. OKC could package that prohibitive money along with some other type of compensation to lure someone with more value. And even if Thabeet doesn't command anything of substance, the Thunder could try to move him to create more room under the tax to land someone the team really wants in a separate deal.


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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