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Thunder’s trade chatter to save money is about ‘getting better’ not just to cut costs


One of the many teams in advance of the 2019 NBA Draft that is rumored to be looking to sweeten salary dumps with its first-round pick is the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are staring down the barrel of an egregious payroll headlined by mammoth deals to Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Andre Roberson.

According to recent reports, Adams, Schröder, and Roberson are all available to teams in addition to the #21 overall pick, but OKC would like a player in return that can help in the 2019-20 season and not just purely to shed salary and avoid the tax, per Brett Dawson of The Athletic.

According to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic in his most recent mock draft, OKC would “prefer a player in return that they think could help them next season while also saving money.”

While deals like that might not be easy to find, the #21 pick is certainly not a terrible asset, so perhaps teams might be able to aid the Thunder in their quest come draft night.

The Thunder along with several other teams are rumored to be floating picks to move up, down or all over the draft board. The Atlanta Hawks have already traded away a second round pick (#44 overall) to the Miami Heat, the Utah Jazz traded two first-round picks for Mike Conley and late on Wednesday night the Milwaukee Bucks attached the #30 overall pick to Tony Snell and sent both to the Detroit Pistons in order to shave off a sliver of cap space in order to retain the team’s important pending free agents: Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez.