The Oklahoma City Thunder were left in a tough position after Paul George decided that he wanted to be traded. That ultimately prompted the end of the Russell Westbrook era as he was quickly sent to the Houston Rockets to team up with James Harden.
While the Thunder seems to be keen on making a playoff push with veteran players like Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams as opposed to tearing it down to rebuild. They pride themselves on consistently making it to the playoffs and that could prevent a potential trade featuring Adams in the near future.
Steven Adams on his chemistry with Chris Paul: “We’ve clicked on most things, but that’s expected.” pic.twitter.com/U3Unjw6m74
— Maddie Lee (@maddie_m_lee) October 2, 2019
Adams is coming off a strong season with averages of 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds and his rebound should only skyrocket since he’s no longer playing with Westbrook. His proficiency at doing the dirty work with toughness on both ends of the floor is a real asset that many teams should want to add if the Thunder were to decide to pursue a rebuild.
Here are three teams that should make one last push to acquire Steven Adams:
3. Atlanta Hawks
The defensive end of the floor is going to be a struggle for the Atlanta Hawks until they surround Trae Young and John Collins with impact players. The draft selection of De’Andre Hunter should help in this regard but they need an upgrade from Alex Len at the center spot to anchor their unit.
It is important to note just how badly the Hawks struggled on the defensive end of the floor in 2018-19. They are coming off a season with a 113.1 defensive rating (28th) and that is not likely to see much improvement after one season. Adding more defensive talent would help significantly.
A hypothetical rebounding duo of Adams and Collins would have a real chance of being the best in the NBA on both ends of the floor. Let’s not forget that the little things that Adams does like setting rock hard screens and sealing off help defenders in the paint would help Young, too.
2. Sacramento Kings
The competition for playoff spots in the Western Conference is going to continue to be highly difficult for younger teams like the Sacramento Kings. Making an upgrade at the center spot would be advantageous to maximize their chances of earning one of those spots.
The center options that the Kings have on their roster include Harry Giles, Richaun Holmes, and Dewayne Dedmon. While there is solid talent in that mix, there is plenty of room to improve even if they aren’t interested in making a deal. A player like Adams would provide them with a needed defensive anchor and roll man while solidifying their rebounding.
The potential that De’Aaron Fox has as a player with his is explosiveness is reminiscent of Westbrook. Having a player like Adams who is used to playing a style that is meant to maximize a player of that nature could help Fox to take the next step in key areas.
1. Boston Celtics
It is no secret that the Philadelphia 76ers are arguably the top threat in the Eastern Conference heading into the upcoming season. With Joel Embiid leading the charge, the Boston Celtics need to have the necessary personnel to be able to slow him down a bit.
As it currently stands, Embiid would probably eat the Celtics alive in a potential playoff series. Enes Kanter is widely known as a defensive liability and he would be tasked with trying to guard Embiid. Acquiring Adams would be a massive upgrade from Kanter for this matchup and in general.
The personnel that the Celtics will be putting on the floor this season features a lot of players that like to put the ball on the floor.
Having a dirty work specialist like Adams who is solely focused on making an impact on the nuances of the game without caring about his scoring average would help.