As some teams are busy negotiating plausible trades as the February 10th deadline approaches, the Oklahoma City Thunder is one team not expected to make drastic changes. Many of their players are still inexperienced and still in the early juncture of their careers while the rebuilding Thunder search for long-term fits on the roster. With Kenrich Williams already at 27 years old, he's an asset Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti could try and move in exchange for another first-round pick.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and perhaps Luguentz Dort are franchise cornerstones for the Thunder. Williams, impactful as he is, doesn't seem to be in this team's short or long-term plans, with coach Mark Daigneault already playing Darius Bazley and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl ahead of him. Their age aligns better with Oklahoma City's core, which increases the chance for Williams to be dealt for future assets before February 10th.
3 teams who should trade for Kenrich Williams at 2022 trade deadline
With the continuous absence of Pat Williams and Derrick Jones Jr., the wing rotation of the Chicago Bulls remains thin. Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are two instrumental defenders who are also missing. Adding Williams to the fold gives would give them a versatile, gritty defensive presence who can play 15-20 minutes per game.
Offense isn't much of a problem for Billy Donovan's team, but it is still lacking individuals who are ready and willing to do two-way grunt work with Ball and Caruso sidelined. Williams would be an upgrade on Javonte Green and Troy Brown Jr. at forward, and his cheap $2 million salary—completely nonguaranteed next season, by the way—would keep Chicago below the luxury tax.
The only team in the association with single-digit losses this year, the Phoenix Suns seem to not have any glaring holes in their rotation. Coach Monty Williams realized how the Milwaukee Bucks exposed their lack of size in the NBA Finals, and has reacted by giving extra minutes to traditional big men JaVale McGee, Bismack Biyombo and Jalen Smith behind Deandre Ayton.
Playing bigger might not be a viable option versus some playoffs teams, though, increasing Phoenix's need for another stout, flexible defender like Williams. As much as McGee and Biyombo might help in a potential Finals rematch with the Bucks, Williams' ability to guard up and down the positional spectrum would make him valuable for the Suns no matter who they meet in the postseason.
Arguably the most surprising team in the league this season should not rest on its laurels when opportunities arise before the trade deadline. With Williams' trade value static, the Memphis Grizzlies could offer Jarrett Culver and a protected first-round pick to the Thunder. Culver is a deep bench player for coach Taylor Jenkins, but having Williams would give the Grizzlies insurance just in case they lose Kyle Anderson to free agency summer.
Williams could be utilized in the second unit alongside Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke as a plug-and-play wing. Hard work and determination are two obvious virtues being imparted to the whole roster of the Grizzlies, and Williams would be a perfect fit to the identity being forged in Memphis.