Trade Deadline: OKC adds big man, where to go from here?

In a season full of change, we have more change in the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. Upon the trade deadline, the Thunder dealt veteran guard George Hill to the Philadelphia 76ers, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

The Thunder will acquire Tony Bradley (23) and two second-round picks from the 76ers. The New York Knicks, the third team in this deal, will send Austin Rivers (28) to Oklahoma City.

The second-round picks traded to OKC are picks from 2025 and 2026 from Philly.

George Hill was a productive guard for the Thunder through the early stages of this season, averaging 11.8 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 14 games. He shot 39.5 percent from three. However, due to him undergoing surgery on his right thumb, Hill hasn’t played since Jan. 24. The Sixers expect Hill to play before the playoffs commence.

Hill’s trade was inevitable. Not only is he aging (34), he’s owed$19 million over this season and next. The Thunder are committing to giving rookie guard Theo Maledon and second-year guard Ty Jerome more playing time moving forward, which put Hill’s purpose in a weird spot.

If you do not understand the trades or the trades’ purpose, use this as a reference. The Thunder are rebuilding and are going through a ‘youth movement.’ George Hill was never intended to be a long-term option in OKC. This was simply a layover for him to land somewhere where he could potentially play for a championship. As a result, dating back to the last offseason when the Thunder acquired Hill, OKC has gotten one first-round pick and four second-round picks and a promising young center, Tony Bradley, and a younger veteran, Austin Rivers (28) to OKC.

Bradley fits OKC’s mold perfectly. He’s an athletic center under the age of 25 on a minor contract. He spent this season in Philly after being traded from the Utah Jazz, where he spent three seasons.

This season, Bradley averages 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game on 68% shooting. He’s been Philly’s starting center with Joel Embiid out. Speaking of Embiid, he has high praises for Bradley as well.

But, the question is, will the Thunder value Bradley or their breakout center Moses Brown more?

Embiid is right. Bradley has shown a lot of promise over his 20 games for the Sixers, mainly in a support role. He also has two other guys, other than Embiid, who make most of the shots, so naturally, his stats will lack a bit.

You should expect the Thunder to hold onto Bradley through this season, but the question will remain whether or not they see Brown or him as a viable option moving forward.

The Thunder have suddenly become stacked when it comes to big men. Al Horford, Mike Muscala, Brown, Bradley, and a small-ball lineup could include Isaiah Roby at the center, as we’ve seen numerous times. That problem could and will be solved, though. Al Horford isn’t in OKC’s future plans, and Mike Muscala’s contract is up after this season. That leaves two true centers on the Thunder roster…and Roby.

I believe that the Thunder should retain Bradley, a guy that’s up for a new contract next season but won’t be expensive. I also think it would behoove the Thunder to sign Moses Brown to a full NBA contract. The biggest question would be, who would start and who would come off the bench, which is a job for Mark Daigneault.

The Thunder are headed in a good direction, despite all of the moves. Here’s a quick breakdown of where the Thunder are after the trade deadline.

Players moved to different teams:
Hamidou Diallo.
Trevor Ariza, who never played.
George Hill.

Players who are coming into OKC:
Svi Mykhailiuk.
Tony Bradley.
Austin Rivers.

And more draft compensation.

Curious about what’s happening with Austin Rivers? We’ll keep you updated as soon as we figure that situation out.

About the author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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