The Oklahoma City Thunder are aiming to contend for the title in the 2016-17 NBA season. However, with Russell Westbrook as their only superstar, the Thunder remain questionable to dethrone the Golden State Warriors as the Western Conference champions.
Victor Oladipo and Steve Adams do their best to help Westbrook carry the team. However, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insider revealed that the Thunder are still eyeing for another legitimate scoring threat. As the February deadline draws near, the Thunder should consider looking for a superstar that will be available on the trade market.
Here are the four players the Oklahoma City Thunder could target before the February deadline:
Since Kevin Durant left, Rudy Gay’s name frequently appears on trade rumors involving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gay is a prolific scorer who could be a temporary replacement for Durant. Before the start of the season, he informed the Sacramento Kings that he plans to exercise his player option and become a free agent.
Zach Lowe of ESPN reported the Thunder are interested in getting Gay’s service. Acquiring him will undeniably bolster the Thunder, giving them another floor spacer.
“They remain interested in bigger wings, including Rudy Gay, sources say, in part because such a player would slide everyone down to their intended spots: Oladipo to the bench and Andre Roberson back to defending shooting guards.”
The Kings remain hopeful to end their 10-year playoff drought this season and would like to keep Gay a little longer. However, if they see themselves questionable to earn a playoff spot, they will surely trade Rudy Gay than lose him for nothing.
The Atlanta Hawks are reportedly entertaining trade offers for All-Star forward Paul Millsap. Marc Stein of ESPN revealed that the Hawks want at least a first-round pick in return. As of now, the Thunder only have Domantas Sabonis as their starting power forward.
Replacing him with Paul Millsap will undeniably strengthen their chance of contending for the title this season. Millsap could help the Thunder on both ends. He’s an incredible low-post scorer, an efficient shooter, a good passer, and a superb defender.
However, the problem will be the Thunder’s willingness to give him a maximum contract next summer. In a suggested trade scenario, the Thunder could send Ernes Kanter and a 2017 first-round pick to Hawks for Millsap.
The Chicago Bulls don’t want to build around Jimmy Butler and reportedly making him available on the trade market. The report came as a surprise as Butler recently established the biggest game of his NBA career with a 52-point performance. The 27-year-old small forward will be interesting to pair with Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook.
However, the Thunder don’t have enough assets to give up for Butler. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Bulls want at least two valuable draft picks and two starting caliber players to let Butler go. Any NBA team will think twice before giving that much for a rising star.
The Denver Nuggets are in the 11th spot in the Western Conference and remain questionable to earn a playoff spot. They are currently in a rebuilding stage and could trade some of their veterans, including Danilo Gallinari.
Gallinari is expected to opt out his contract and become a free agent next summer. Trading him now will be the best option than lose him without compensation. If he becomes available, the Oklahoma City Thunder should grab the opportunity to upgrade their wing.
Danilo Gallinari is a combo forward who’s a good floor spacer. He will undeniably boost the Thunder’s offense, giving them a stretch 4. In 34 games this season, he averages 17.1 points and five rebounds. Gallinari ranks 12th among small forwards in true shooting percentage, per ESPN.com.
Photo courtesy: Jsteperry/Wikimedia Commons
ALSO READ: 4 biggest draft busts in the NBA history