The outcome of the 2016-17 NBA season showed that Russell Westbrook, alone, can’t bring the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals. The departure of Kevin Durant undeniably hurts Thunder on both ends of the floor. With their eyes focused in the upcoming offseason, the Thunder are reportedly planning to use Enes Kanter as a trade piece to improve their roster.
The Thunder suffered an early exit in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs despite Westbrook’s incredible performance. As most people think, the Thunder need to add at least one superstar in order to become a legitimate title contender next season. Upgrading their current roster will also help them convince Westbrook to sign another contract extension this summer.
Enes Kanter expected to be on the trading block this summer
In a press conference, Thunder general manager Sam Presti discussed the Thunder’s first season in the post-Kevin Durant era. Presti revealed their plan to use the offseason to improve their roster but didn’t give any specific target.
“Will we go out and look at every opportunity? Yes, we will,” Presti said. “Because, you know, that’s what we’ve done over the course of time. But unless somebody is willing to give us exactly what we want, for limited return or for return that we feel comfortable with, we have no alternative other than to continue to be head down, sleeves up, working to get better with this group of players.”
Based on how their season goes, the Thunder obviously need to find a replacement for Durant. OKC should add another reliable scorer who can play alongside Westbrook. According to Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman, the Thunder will try to trade Enes Kanter in the upcoming offseason.
“So, of course, the roster will undergo changes — big changes, if Presti has his way. Kanter absolutely is on the trading block, not because the Thunder has grown disenchanted with Enes the Menace, but because he’s got some value (remember, 33.1 points per 100 possessions played) and OKC is overstocked on big men. The Thunder absolutely is in the market for a backup point guard. And literally, every team in the league covets versatile wings,” Tramel wrote.
Finding an ideal trade partner for Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter provides a firepower for the Thunder but his defense proved to be a major concern. In their playoffs series against the Houston Rockets, coach Billy Donovan was caught saying “Can’t play Kanter” on the broadcast cameras. Aside from his defensive woes, his salary is too expensive for a backup role.
According to Tony Heim of Fansided, the New York Knicks could be an ideal trade destination for Kanter. He could play alongside Kristaps Porzingis and will be a good fit with the triangle offense. The Thunder could ask for Carmelo Anthony in return but the Knicks will surely demand more assets to let the superstar go.
Photo courtesy: @eneskanter11/Instagram
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