Oklahoma City’s season is on the brink tonight in Memphis. The Thunder trail 3-2. After going to the Finals two years ago, the Thunder have regressed. Is trading Russell Westbrook the answer? Probably not, but it’s logical to assume if the Grizzlies win this series, OKC better put wheels in motion to improve the team or risk losing Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016. Here are some trade-machine ideas to chew on:
Andy Glockner gets credit for floating this one. Westbrook and Lamb go home, OKC gets a legit dump-it-in-the-post presence. The worse the draft pick is, the better for OKC. If it’s top 3, I can’t imagine the Lakers giving it up. If it’s 5-6-7, maybe. If 8-9-10, does OKC still want it? (James Young or Gary Harris on the perimeter all day?) As I’ve previously written, I think the current Thunder are built for the regular season, not the playoffs. You can’t have two guys taking all the shots (specifically, all the jumpers). A pass-first point guard who can score – think, Conley, CP3, Lawson – would be nice for OKC, too.
Surely the Thunder would hate to give up Westbrook and the promising Adams, but if the Hawks eliminate the Pacers, and then beat the Wizards to reach the Conference Finals, it’s highly unlikely Atlanta would do something like this. And as others have mentioned, the Hawks will have cap room next summer for Danny Ferry to make a move. Horford and Millsap are similar with Millsap being the better offensive player. Horford has had injury issues, but he’s only 27.
Westbrook’s obviously the best player in this deal. The problem is an analytic-heavy team like OKC probably isn’t going to see as much value in Walker/Jefferson, though one could construct an argument about how having Jefferson in the paint instead of Perkins gives the Thunder a desperately needed low-post scoring option. Westbrook is an elite athlete and tremendous defender; Walker is generously listed at 6-foot-1.