NBA training camp starts next week, which means that the offseason is essentially over as teams prepare to start the 2022-23 regular season.
With that said, that does not mean trade season is over too. Bleacher Report writer Andy Bailey published an article on Monday that included trade ideas for all 30 NBA teams.
For the Oklahoma City Thunder, they were involved in three such trade ideas with the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks.
The most notable of the batch is the proposal of sending Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Knicks after missing out on Donovan Mitchell. There’s been talks recently about a potential marriage between both parties, but nothing’s been officially reported and it’s more about coming up with trade ideas.
Let’s take a look at the three trades and Bailey’s reasoning as to why the trade makes sense for both teams
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to the Knicks
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Trade: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Evan Fournier, Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish, 2023 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick and 2027 first-round pick.
Why the Thunder make the trade:
“HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto recently poured some cold water on the idea of OKC trading SGA, and we haven’t really heard that he’s frustrated by being on a team in the middle of a long-term rebuild.
You never know when things might change with a star player, though. And if Gilgeous-Alexander were to ever ask out, New York will be positioned to offer a package loaded with future assets.
Two young wings and three shots to add more high-end talent around Josh Giddey and Chet Holmgren would be a strong consolation for losing a foundational talent.”
Why the Knicks make the trade:
“The New York Knicks missed out on Donovan Mitchell, but that shouldn’t stop them from shopping the package of picks and young players it was willing to give up for him.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is younger and arguably better than Mitchell. And his size and defensive upside alone probably make him an easier potential fit alongside Jalen Brunson.
If New York was willing to spend much of that stash of assets for Mitchell, it should be willing to do 85-90 percent of that same package (at least) to get SGA.
Evan Fournier (mostly his salary), Quentin Grimes, Cam Reddish and three first-round picks offers an awful lot of upside, but there’s no guarantee any of that develops into a consistent 20-5-5 guard with wing size.
And considering the fact that Gilgeous-Alexander is 24, he might even get better.”
Thoughts: While in a vacuum, this is a great haul to get for a player like Gilgeous-Alexander, it just doesn’t make sense for the Thunder to do it right now. The Thunder should only trade Gilgeous-Alexander if it’s a last resort.
The 24-year-old is locked up for the next five seasons without a player option. That type of contractual security for an All-Star-caliber player is a massive blessing for a small-market team like the Thunder. You just don’t voluntarily trade that away, even for a trade package as enticing as this one.
Kenrich Williams to the Timberwolves
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Trade: Kenrich Williams for Nathan Knight and 2023 second-round pick (via Knicks)
Why the Thunder make the trade:
“OKC just extended Williams this offseason, and they can’t deal him till six months have passed, but all the veterans on rebuilding teams should probably be considered generally available.
Some other organization might be willing to offer more draft capital than a single second-round pick, but this isn’t a bad starting point.”
Why the Timberwolves make the trade:
“The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of those teams for which a realistic trade really doesn’t exist right now.
They already went all in and spent most of their trade capital on Rudy Gobert, and it’s pretty difficult to find anyone who might want to take on D’Angelo Russell.
That means a lower profile trade that can’t be completed till January is the call here.
With Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid on the roster, Minnesota is set at the 5. What it could use is a little more perimeter defense, and Kenrich Williams can bring it.
If the Wolves can secure him for a big who likely won’t play this season and a second-round pick, they should do it.”
Thoughts: Kenrich Williams has played his way from an afterthought piece in the 2020 Steven Adams deal to a legit rotation player for the Thunder. With the team locking him up on a long-term and team-friendly deal this offseason, his trade value jumped up.
I’m not against trading Williams as he is already 27 years old and just a role player, but it has to include more than what the Timberwolves offer here.
Mike Muscala to the Nuggets
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Trade: Mike Muscala for Zeke Nnaji
Why the Thunder make the trade:
“Nnaji is 10 years younger than Muscala, and he’s hit 43.9 percent of his career three-point attempts.
He doesn’t have the experience of Muscala, but the Thunder certainly don’t need that right now. This gives them a 21-year-old big man on the same timeline as the rest of the young core.”
Why the Nuggets make the trade:
“At the outset of free agency, DeAndre Jordan was ostensibly signed to be Nikola Jokic’s backup.
Of course, he’s 34 years old and hasn’t helped a team win in half a decade. Over the last five years, his raw total plus-minus ranks 966th out of the 1,002 players who’ve appeared in an NBA game.
So, at some point this season, it stands to reason that Denver might be back in the market for a reserve center (as they were when they signed DeMarcus Cousins in the middle of the 2021-22 season).
One option could be veteran big Mike Muscala, who helps the Oklahoma City Thunder too much to stay on the floor during this asset-accumulation phase of their rebuild.
Over the last two seasons, OKC is minus-0.3 points per 100 possessions when Muscala plays and minus-11.6 when he doesn’t.
His three-point shooting (42.9 percent last season and 37.7 in his career) and plus defense (at least recently) make him a short-term upgrade over Zeke Nnaji.”
Thoughts: This is probably the most realistic out of the trio. Mike Muscala has had some of his best shooting seasons with the Thunder but due to the team rebuilding, has seen limited action.
With Muscala signed onto the vet’s minimum, he’d be a nice rental bench piece to add to any playoff contender who can add shooting and spread the floor as a big.
Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire