Of course, they didn't. The Thunder are a loaded team, with many players who other teams would want. Whether they should have made those moves is the real question.
Are the Oklahoma City Thunder better off standing pat? Or, should they have made one of the moves available to them? The answer may never be knowable for sure, but it sure is fun to speculate.
Trading Kendrick Perkins for Marcin Gortat
The only major trade that had been rumored for the Thunder was them potentially getting center Marcin Gortat from the Phoenix Suns. Such a trade would have likely consisted of the Thunder sending Kendrick Perkins to Phoenix along with a younger player like Jeremy Lamb or Perry Jones III and a draft pick.
As you can see here, the trade would work financially for both sides. However, it seemed unlikely from the beginning.
This season, Gortat has averaged 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, which are down numbers for him since he became a starting center in the NBA. Perkins has averaged 4.7 points and 5.9 rebounds this season. Clearly, such a swap would have been bad for the Suns.
The inclusion of a young player like Lamb or Jones would have sweetened the deal for them and a draft pick (especially Toronto’s 2013 1st rounder) would have helped. Still though, the Suns were smart to keep Gortat, considering that he makes less money than Perkins and will come off the books quicker as well.
The Thunder would have benefited from this trade, but it likely would have cost them something else (possible Serge Ibaka) to really make it happen.
Signing Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin signed with the New York Knicks at the trade deadline, after not playing a minute in the NBA since last year’s postseason with the Los Angeles Clippers. While it is debatable as to whether Martin would have signed on with the Thunder, there is no debate that he would have been an asset for them.
Martin is a tough, hard-nosed veteran who could have been the added toughness inside that the Thunder have lacked recently. Perkins has filled that role for the Thunder recently, but considering the two players’ recent NBA work, one would be more convinced of Martin’s effectiveness.
It is important to remember that we have no idea if the Thunder were even interested in him. The point is that they should have been.
Even in his worst statistical season (last season), Martin put up better numbers than Perkins has, and Martin was coming off the bench. It would not have been a permanent solution, but Martin could have filled a big role for OKC during this last stretch of the season and during the postseason.
Trading Kevin Martin
Another option the Thunder could have taken would have been to trade Kevin Martin to the highest bidder. Whether they should have done it or not depends largely on what was offered.
I doubt that this option was ever seriously considered, especially given that Martin, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, has recently stated that he might be inclined to stay in Oklahoma City. He even went so far as to say that this season in OKC had been “the happiest [he has] been during [his] NBA career,” per Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.
Still though, it would have been interesting to see what teams would give up to get Martin for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, we have no idea that they might have given up, since there was basically no buzz on this option.
Martin is a good three-point shooter and has proven that he can be a lethal sixth man for a contender, averaging 15 points on 45.6 percent shooting this season for the Thunder.
It is obvious that there would have been considerable interest in Martin, but it seems like that while this is a move the Thunder could have made, they were right not to.
Ultimately, the Thunder played it safe at the deadline. While that sounds boring or even backward, it is the exact right thing to do when you are already a strong championship contender.
While the Thunder could have made many moves, there are few they should have made. Keeping this team together was the best thing that could be done, so that it could continue to grow into the dominant force it looks to be in the future.