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Thunder insider: Will OKC make a trade or stand pat?

Thunder general manager Sam Presti still hasn't close the door on making a trade before Thursday's deadline. Presti can't come to any sweeping conclusions and announce the publicly because he never knows what deal might come along.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 11, 2012
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Sam Presti likes to leave his options open.

The Thunder general manager still hasn't closed the door on making a trade before Thursday's deadline. And he won't. Presti can't come to any sweeping conclusions and announce them publicly because he never knows what deal might come along.

But barring some no-brainer that would make the Thunder come out like bandits, it doesn't appear likely that Oklahoma City will make a move.

Despite a handful of shortcomings that have included defensive rebounding, erratic bench scoring and, now, inexperience at the backup point guard position, it seems the Thunder is destined to stand pat.

At this point, the Thunder has many more reasons to stick with the status quo than switch gears even in the slightest.

For starters, the Thunder is 32-9 with nearly two-thirds of the year in the books. OKC is five games ahead of second-placed San Antonio and is on pace to win 52 games. At its current rate, the Thunder would wrap up home-court advantage through the Western Conference Finals and possibly the NBA Finals, too, depending on how Chicago and Miami close out the season.

Aside from seeding, the regular season success won't matter once the playoffs begin and the games turn into more of a chess match of strategies and matchups. That's why some have clamored for a change despite the team's success. There's a chance that the things the Thunder is skating by with now won't hold up in the postseason. But when healthy, the Thunder has a roster equipped to compete with any team in the league in a seven-game series.

Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kevin Durant form the league's highest scoring trio at 68.8 points per game, giving the Thunder ample offensive firepower against any defense. Once Thabo Sefolosha returns from a foot injury, the Thunder again will have a defensive stopper to slow down perimeter scorers. And in Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed, the Thunder has a quarter of big men that many opposing coaches already have labeled the league's best defensive rotation.

None of those players figure to be dealt. The remaining pieces — Daequan Cook, Reggie Jackson, Cole Aldrich, Lazar Hayward, Ryan Reid, Eric Maynor and Royal Ivey — are either much-needed role players or developing prospects. But none have a ton of trade value. That limits the Thunder's options.

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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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