Trade Scenario II: Thunder – Luguentz Dort
The Oklahoma City Thunder is most certainly a team on the rise. They snuck into the 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament and were ultimately stopped at the doorstep of the 2023 NBA Playoffs by a spirited effort from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
This year, the Thunder expect to be even more competitive than before, with the return of a healthy Chet Holmgren, the team expects to be among the teams in the discussion for a 2024 NBA Playoff berth. The trick for the Thunder lies in the fact that this team is already competitive, and the team must pivot from asset acquisition to converting picks for top-tier players.
That translates into landing an NBA All-Star, and with a handful of draft picks, the obvious choice for their team is to pursue Minnesota Timberwolves C/PF Karl Anthony Towns. The trick of this exchange is that Davis Bertans cannot be traded until after August 21, 2023.
So what would this trade proposal look like?
Reason to pass
It’s never a wise decision to trade with a rival, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are certainly becoming a very dangerous one at that. The Thunder want to win now. Much like the trade scenario of the New York Knicks, the Thunder would be happy to dangle future draft picks to get the job done. But the Minnesota Timberwolves are trying to win now too.
Does Davis Bertans have quality play left in him? He was a rising NBA star for the Washington Wizards in 2019-2022, but his production and role have diminished significantly since. With huge question marks hanging over Bertains, the Timberwolves would be taking a huge and unnecessary risk in this trade proposal.
Reason to pursue
There is an illogical love for NBA Draft picks, and a lingering regret over the Timberwolves’ willingness to part with four picks for center Rudy Gobert has remained quite persistent. In fact, the focus of many NBA analysts seems to have pivoted from reporting on the TImberwolves objectively, and instead focusing on events to justify a national narrative for how foolish the Timberwolves were for trading picks away.
If picks are the name of the game, then a package of players and four first-round draft picks over the next four seasons is tough to pass up. The Timberwolves have the roster depth to absorb parting ways with Karl-Anthony Towns. But is that a decision this team should make:?