The Oklahoma City Thunder are apparently not shying away from their obvious need for big men. The only problem is, they don’t have a ton of money to work with in order to bolster their lineup. With that said, it’s recently come to light that the Thunder are pursuing bigs via trade.
Unfortunately, as Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports revealed, the trade focus has been on backup options. And while a top-tier name like Kevin Love would make sense, that type of contract is something that’s almost unrealistic to even consider, barring something drastic happening. There’s also the obvious fact that Love is a plug-and-play starter, when healthy, and his contract shows that.
But how about the idea of a reunion with Enes Kanter? Or, maybe there’s a real-world possibility where Love to the Thunder is possible (unlikely). Let’s dive a bit deeper into the situation and evaluate the Kanter situation specifically.
Thunder-Enes Kanter Trade
There is a real possibility the Thunder could swing a trade for Enes Kanter, even though he’s making more than $18.6 million this year, per Spotrac. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City Thunder would likely either need to get creative or add someone like Dennis Schroder to the mix. It’s tough to envision the Thunder opting to go that route, as Schroder has been a strong piece of the second unit.
On the opposite side, the team desperately needs big men, and if they could potentially bring another player in with Kanter, it may not be out of the question. The Knicks also have shown interest in getting their younger players additional run, and it’s come at the expense of Kanter. The veteran big man addressed his frustration with this back in late December as well, per ESPN.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “This is too early in the season to shut me down. My goal is to go out there and try to be an All-Star this year. That was my goal. But now, look at the situation. You can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to stay positive. Just got to stay positive.”
Potential Thunder Trades for Enes Kanter
There are a variety of ways Oklahoma City could approach this deal, but one of them would be deciding to include Schroder in a trade with the Thunder and getting a one-year player in return. Using the ESPN NBA Trade Machine, you can see that a deal involving Kanter and Trey Burke going to the Thunder with Dennis Schroder and Patrick Patterson (can swap in other names) would work.
There’s obviously risk here for the Thunder, as they’re taking on two, one-year contracts and would be left potentially without a backup point guard and center after the year. But the move would put Oklahoma City in a position to make a push to truly contend for a title this year.