Thunder basketball will be back tonight, and they will have a couple of new faces on the roster. Yesterday was the last possible day to complete trades and, as many fans hoped, Oklahoma City made one. It wasn’t a blockbuster trade (no George, no Butler) but a useful one that overall improved the roster. Plus, it’s fair to say that Oklahoma City did not give up too much in this deal.
- The Thunder sent Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and an unprotected 2nd round pick in 2018.
What did the Thunder give up:
Cameron Payne has not been very good this season. Due to a foot injury in summer, Payne had to miss the first half of the season and his numbers are not very impressive since he came back. He is averaging 5.3 points while shooting 33% FG and 31% 3PT. He also averages 1.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game. The management apparently felt confident with Semaj as a backup for Westbrook.
Anthony Morrow is a veteran sharpshooter who was and still is loved by the Oklahoma City Thunder organization and by the whole fanbase. His lack of defensive skills made him hard to play at times and with his three-points % dropping down big time this season (he is shooting only 29%) it was easy for the Thunder to add him in the deal. In addition, he would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
Joffrey Lauvergne is in his 3rd year in the NBA. He played well as a replacement for Enes Kanter, but, with the imminent comeback of the big Turkish player, the minutes for Lauvergne would be cut to almost zero. He will be also a restricted free agent this summer and most likely the Thunder weren’t interested in matching high offers for him.
What did the Thunder receive:
Doug McDermott is in his 3rd year in the NBA, he is a very good three-point shooter, young and big. He is averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assists per game this season. As mentioned above, his strength is shooting, especially from behind the arc. He is a 40% career three points shooter and he is little below that number with 38% this year. The Thunder needed someone able to space the floor for Westbrook without giving up too much on defense, and they might have found what they were looking for in McDermott.
Taj Gibson is in his eighth year in the NBA and he has always been with the Chicago Bulls. Gibson will most likely start in place of Sabonis in order to take some pressure out of the rookie who’s not playing well lately. Gibson is a good player on both ends of the floor, especially on defense. Taj is averaging 11.6 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game, plus he brings a good playoff experience to this young team. The only downside with him is that he is basically a rental. He will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
In the trade, the Thunder received also an unprotected 2nd round draft pick in 2018.
The roster is now down to fourteen players, that means that Oklahoma City can sign someone else for the rest of the season.