The Oklahoma City Thunder are on a bit of a run right now. They have won seven of their last 10 games and are just half a game out of a spot at the play-in tournament in the Western Conference. They have overachieved quite a bit this season, especially considering the injury to would-be rookie Chet Holmgren. Of course, much of it is because of the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. At this point, however, what’s their best move at the trade deadline? Here we will look at the dream scenario that the Thunder are hoping for as we close in on the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline.

The Thunder are in an interesting position heading into the deadline. They can acquire players to upgrade their roster or shed contracts by waiving or trading current players. However, they must consider the value of the 13 players currently earning less than $10 million, both on and off the court. For instance, as the youngest team in the NBA since 1998-99, it would not be wise to waive a veteran player like Mike Muscala. It would not be worth letting him go just for a future second-round pick and cash. Keep in mind that the Thunder do have draft assets and financial flexibility. However, they are likely to focus on player development and controllable contracts rather than making a big move for a superstar at the deadline. We fully expect the OKC front office to build a sustainable team for the future.

On the flip side, we should also never doubt the ability of Thunder GM Sam Presti to find valuable deals. He is building something truly special with the team. As such, we wouldn’t be shocked if he pulls the trigger on a bold deal. Take note that the Thunder have an abundance of potential on their roster. The leaders, of course, are SGA and Giddey, who is showing potential to be a triple-double-like player. Meanwhile, other young talents like Chet Holmgren, Ousmane Dieng, Aleksej Pokusevski, Jalen Williams, and Lu Dort round the roster out pretty well. Additionally, they have plenty of draft picks to utilize in the next decade.

Now, if the Thunder do decide to make a move ahead of or at the deadline, Darius Bazley might be THAT guy. He is a player who has been and will continue to be brought up in trade discussions. Bazley is in the final year of his rookie contract. Although he has had good moments for the Thunder, he is not a consistent part of the team’s core rotation. Some believe that if the Thunder should make a move, it would be in the off-season. But again, one can never be too sure what Presti and his front office have planned.

Now let’s look at the Thunder’s dream scenario for the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

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Thunder acquire Reddish for Bazley

It is tempting to say that the Thunder should be buyers at the trade deadline. With players like SGA, Giddey, Williams, Holmgren, and Dort, they have a strong team. OKC also has a defense that is characterized by frenetic energy. As we said, the Thunder are currently in the play-in race and have great momentum to finish the season strong. While there is a chance that their current success may fade, there is also a chance that they will continue to heat up.

Now, if Presti and his boys are up for it, they could take a more aggressive approach to the deadline. Without a doubt, their four highest-paid players — SGA, Dort, Giddey, and Holmgren — are not going anywhere. The fifth highest-paid player is Dieng, who has returned from having a fractured right wrist. He is certainly someone to keep an eye on. Dieng is currently making $4.6 million.

And then as we said, there’s Bazley, who should be the main piece of any forthcoming deal. Again, despite having limited salary cap space and a roster spot situation to consider, they could still benefit from adding more shooting to their team. To do that, one strategy could be to offer Bazley’s expiring contract along with other assets to acquire a high-volume sniper. Additionally, the Thunder could focus on acquiring bigs and wings who can develop alongside their current young backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and others. As such, they should consider targeting young players with high potential such as Golden State’s James Wiseman, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey, or New York’s Cam Reddish. That’s in addition to looking for more draft picks.

Of those options, the dream scenario seems to be the Reddish route. At 6’8, Knicks forward Cam Reddish is a highly-talented prospect who is currently available on the trade market. Despite his 10th overall draft position in 2019, his career with Atlanta and New York just hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. However, it is too early to completely write him off just yet.

A mutually beneficial setup could be possible between Oklahoma City and Reddish. Considering OKC’s wealth of assets, and the potential departure of Bazley, Reddish would be a valuable target for the Thunder. Bazley has been underutilized this season. As such, he may also seek a new opportunity. A change of scenery would be beneficial for both him and Reddish.