Thunder rumors: Oklahoma City surprising rival teams with willingness to take on big contracts in trade talks
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Thunder surprising rival teams with willingness to take on big contracts in trade talks

Thunder, Sam Presti

The Oklahoma City Thunder are surprisingly willing to take on big contracts prior to next year’s trade deadline, as many teams have approached them and they have been willing to take on higher salaries that rivals are willing to move, including long-term deals, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Rival teams have been surprised by the Thunder’s willingness to do this, considering they’re in a transitional period with players like Chris Paul, Steven Adams, Dennis Schröder, and Danilo Gallinari as their main attractions.

The Thunder have narrowed their focus to the improvement of young players like point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley. Developing SGA at his natural point guard position, however, will mean thinning the ranks there, getting rid of either Paul or Schröder in the coming months to allow him full-fledged minutes as a floor general.

Gilgeous-Alexander has played well next to Paul, but he still has more gears to go, especially with the game on the line, which could see him flourish even more once he’s put in those situations on a regular basis.

Adams is center that has been in the crosshairs of many NBA front offices, but his struggles with injuries and the dip in his performance has lowered his value, considering he’s still making a beefy $25.8 million this season and $27.5 million the next.

Averages of 10.8 points and 9.1 rebounds will hardly cut it for such a hefty amount.

Gallinari remains the single most likely trade target, as his positive production and his friendlier $22.6 million expiring deal could make for just the right gamble to unload some excess salary for a chance to win.