Thunder picks up some defensive help, saves a lot of money

Ronnie Brewer will amp up Oklahoma City's defense, and the Thunder will not have to worry about luxury tax at the same time.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 21, 2013

I would've loved to have seen the Thunder bring in some low-post scoring, and that's coming from someone who has staunchly defended Kendrick Perkins. Clearly, Perk is a great defender, but since Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison are limited in what they do offensively, Perk's lack of offense is glaring.

Acquiring a guy like Marcin Gortat or Al Jefferson would've been a great move for the Thunder.

I'm not saying this trade deadline is a total flop for the Thunder either. Brewer has diamond in the rough written all over him.

Isn't Sam Presti always good at finding a couple of those a year?

And in this case, the Thunder general manager found an unusual partner. In this new world order, the Knicks are shopping the bargain bin, too. They wanted to find a way to avoid going down Luxury Tax Boulevard, and here came Presti with a helping hand.

What the Knicks traded was a former lottery pick, a guy who has started 300-plus games, for a second-round pick they could release if things don't work out. And they could do it all paying a league minimum. First-round picks are guaranteed three years. Second-round picks aren't.

The Thunder was happy to take Brewer off their hands. He is a Sefolosha clone. Same height. Ten pounds heavier. And he likes to dive on the floor and D people up just like Thabo.

Brewer could be especially helpful if the Thunder runs up against the Heat again in the NBA Finals. I have no idea whether Brewer can truly guard LeBron James — I'm not sure anyone can — but Brewer will be a great addition when the Thunder goes small. I suspect he would've come in handy Wednesday night when James Harden was going off for 46 points.

How about Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant, Ibaka, and Thabo and Brewer rotating in against LeBron when the Heat goes small?

Sounds all right, doesn't it?

No doubt the Thunder made a nice move Thursday, but the boys in blue didn't do anything major. No contender did.

Here's hoping the era of big deals being done at the trade deadline isn't over. It was always grand fun seeing what would happen. But if big moves mean big money in luxury taxes, teams just aren't going to risk it.

Making a couple nice moves at the trade deadline might be the new normal.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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