NBA Trade Rumors: Thunder Would Be Wise to Retain First-Round Draft Pick
According to Alex Kennedy of hoopsworld.com, the Thunder may do just that.
The Thunder hold pick No. 28, but it’s unlikely that they’ll keep it. Sources close to the situation say that Oklahoma City is satisfied with their young core and they aren’t interested in paying a prospect guaranteed money when he likely won’t be part of the rotation. The Thunder will likely trade or sell the pick. If they aren’t able to move the selection, expect them to draft a foreign player who they can keep overseas for several years.
I realize that the Thunder are lucky to have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook locked up for the next few seasons, but their other situations aren't nearly as copacetic.
James Harden and Serge Ibaka each will be free agents after next season. Oklahoma City may retain one, or ideally both, but finances will be tight for sure.
If Sam Presti and the Thunder brass decide to give Kendrick Perkins amnesty, that will leave $16 million to work with for their two budding stars.
I would almost guarantee Harden will find better than $8 million on the open market (David Lee makes $11.5 million), and I have a hunch Ibaka would as well.
So what's the point?
Who should be the Thunder's top priority entering next year's offseason?
The point is, the Thunder's future is a bit murkier than their fanbase would like to believe. Maybe they will retain both players and launch themselves into the NBA's next dynasty run.
Or, maybe they will lose one, or both, vital pieces and take a major step backward.
Heck, maybe they will flip Harden to the Bobcats for this year's No. 2 overall pick. OK, probably not but you get the point.
Either way, insurance is never a bad thing to have.
Let's take a look at what Oklahoma City should do with their No. 28 pick.
Select and Stash
Ideally, the Thunder do not need help in their rotation for the foreseeable future. In that case, Evan Fournier makes perfect sense at No. 28.
Fournier is only 19 years old, can play multiple positions and still has a very high ceiling. On top of that, the Thunder could leave him on his Poitiers team (French League). They wouldn't have to worry about giving him minutes right away, and they could let him develop as a starter overseas.
That way, if they should lose Harden, they at least have a possible replacement.
He isn't the same type of player nor is he is the same caliber, but he could be a solid NBA player.
Fournier's 6'6'' frame gives him tremendous slashing ability. He isn't a dynamic leaper, but his explosive first step gives him the edge against slower defenders. He's also a savvy distributor.
He must work on his perimeter shooting, and his defense, but that will come with maturity and experience.
Fournier would appeal to the Thunder because there's no rush. Allowing him to gain experience overseas would benefit both sides.
His development wouldn't be hindered by wasting away on an NBA bench, and the Thunder would have an NBA-ready product on their hands exactly when they need him.
Green is the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. He is a stat-sheet-stuffer to the umpteenth degree.
The former Michigan State Spartan doesn't have much, if any, upside. But in the Thunder's case that may not be a bad thing.
I know I just spent 300 words telling you why the Thunder need to stash a player overseas, but Green makes sense if they want to add to their team for next season.
He's an unselfish player, and he's destined to be an NBA role player. There wouldn't be any expectation to turn him into the focal point of an offense, and Green would be happy helping a great NBA team do what they do best.
Green has a winning attitude, and he leads by example. Playing under Tom Izzo's tutelage tells you all that you need to know about the demeanor of the "The Dancing Bear".
The Thunder wold benefit from Green's rebounding ability, versatility and blue-collar attitude. He can fill multiple roles on either end of the floor, and flexibility never hurts a rotation.
Oklahoma City could trade their No. 28 pick and still be just fine for next season.
But why not add a bit of insurance if the cost is right?
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