Should Oklahoma City Thunder Trade Young Assets for Veteran Help?

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IFebruary 12, 2013

January 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jeremy Lamb (11) warms up before the first half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder currently sit just a half-game behind the San Antonio Spurs for the No. 1 record in the NBA and look every bit the championship contender.

Because of that, it's easy to assume the Thunder are going to stand pat at the trade deadline and go forward with their current lineup.

After all, the Thunder already made their big splash this season, trading James Harden just before the season started.

However, could OKC use some of their many young backups to try to get veteran help for the playoffs?

The answer is that it's probably unlikely, but still possible.

One player that looks like a candidate for a deadline deal is Eric Maynor.

Before his injury last season, Maynor was one of the better backup point guards in the NBA and formed a great pick-and-roll combo with the Thunder's best role player, Nick Collison.

This season it's been a completely different story, as Maynor hasn't looked anywhere near the player he was in the past and has been supplanted by Reggie Jackson in the backup slot.

Maynor could easily be traded in the next few weeks, but what about guys like Jeremy Lamb, Hasheem Thabeet, Perry Jones, DeAndre Liggins and Daniel Orton?

Well, first things first: Liggins and Orton would only feature in a deal as small pieces along with another guy.

Likewise, it's unlikely that Thabeet could command much of anything, and being in Oklahoma City's environment might be the best thing for the young man.

Thabeet's never been a very good player, but he's been picking up his game recently for the Thunder and looks like he could be a factor down the stretch against teams with size.

That leaves Lamb, Jones and possibly Reggie Jackson, depending on what the team does with Maynor.

Personally, I think you have to keep Lamb as insurance if the team can't keep Kevin Martin from going to free agency at season's end.

Lamb isn't yet the player Martin is, but if there's one thing he can do, it's score, which means he could take over Martin's duties as the main scorer off the bench.

The idea of a trade involving Perry Jones or Reggie Jackson is an interesting one, but who could the Thunder really get for either of them that's going to help the team?

Earlier in the season, you might've said Anderson Varejao, but he's out for the season, which doesn't really provide any "veteran help".

Because of that and the development of Thabeet, there's almost no reason to bother trading Perry Jones.

You're not going to get someone back with Jones' potential, and there aren't many guys out there and available who could break into the Thunder's frontcourt rotation.

Therefore, you might as well keep the guy you drafted and hope he begins to realize his potential soon.

The trade prospects for the Thunder look slim, but let's look at one crazy scenario, just for fun.

This is a two-stage trade, the first of which comes from an SB Nation article.

It calls for the Thunder to trade Reggie Jackson and some picks to the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick.

The second stage comes from and has the Thunder trading Eric Maynor for Jermaine O'Neal and possibly P.J. Tucker.

In this scenario, Redick would have to play some backup point guard minutes and figure out a way to mesh with Kevin Martin, but it also gives them plenty of shooters and good spacing in the playoffs.

Speaking of the playoffs, it also gives OKC some more size and, in P.J. Tucker, another guy to throw at LeBron James in the NBA Finals.

However, the chances of this happening are pretty slim.

You could see GM Sam Presti pulling the trigger on the Maynor-for-O'Neal trade to add depth and free up some cap space, but NBA teams need at least two point guards.

The Jackson-for-Redick deal is intriguing, but doesn't really help the team very much in their quest for a championship.

As fun as it is to try to make up scenarios to give the Thunder a big trade that brings in some key veterans, it's unlikely that they'll make much noise around the trade deadline.

After all, why mess with a good thing?


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