Recently, the NBA Draft Lottery did not pan out the way Oklahoma City Thunder fans hoped. The Thunder landed the sixth-overall pick and now sit with picks six, 16, and 18 in the first round of the draft. Although the lottery was not ideal for Oklahoma City, the randomness of the offseason can prove worthy for them. Even though the Thunder moved Al Horford and Moses Brown, they still have many valuable assets that teams are interested in.
Thunder general manager, Sam Presti, will likely be very active during the offseason, so let’s look at a player the Thunder could trade for Kristaps Porzingis. The frustration of Dallas Mavericks superstar, Luka Doncic, with Porzinǵis has become evident after the Mavericks exit in the first round of the playoffs. Porzingis struggled during the series and Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, said that there are “dust-ups” between them. After Game 1 of the Los Angeles Clippers vs Mavericks series, Porzingis was caught going to a strip club. He was subsequently fined $50,000 for the incident. Although the Mavericks “laugh[ed] it off,” Doncic was unhappy.
No One is Happy Right Now
Remember when Porzingis broke the rules and snuck off to an L.A. strip club during the playoffs? The Mavs pretended to laugh it off; privately, Doncic wasn’t chuckling.
— fishsports (@fishsports) June 27, 2021
In addition, Porzingis is not happy with the Mavericks. He believes that the Mavericks view him as an “afterthought,” whereas he would like to be the “co-star”.
"Porzingis has been frustrated, often feeling more like an afterthought than a co-star" next to Doncic, per @espn_macmahon pic.twitter.com/H9wneBF0iR
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 7, 2021
In Oklahoma City, Porzingis would have the chance to be a “co-star” alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander is not a selfish star. Although he scores many of his points unassisted, he can create for his teammates averaging 5.9 assists per game last season.
For the Thunder, Porzingis is a low-risk, high-reward project. Since Porzingis struggled in the playoffs, there is a lack of interest for him among NBA teams. The Thunder have been able to take on struggling players and turn their careers around. Al Horford and Chris Paul are examples of this. Both were said to be on the decline, but after playing and succeeding in Oklahoma City, they boosted their stock and were traded for more assets. Porzingis is just 25 years old and if he can revive his career, the Thunder would already have two stars which could propel them back to the playoffs quickly.
Potential Trade: Kemba Walker for Kristaps Porzingis
The Mavericks are trying to win a championship as soon as possible and Walker would help them compete. Walker scored just under 20 points and dished out just under five assists per game last season for the Boston Celtics. Adding his veteran experience to their team could be valuable in the playoffs and they would unload a player that is unhappy in the process. As mentioned earlier, Walker is not a player that fits with the Thunder’s long-term plans and it is likely that he is moved anyway. Porzingis is a player that since he is young still has room for growth. Once the Thunder are ready to compete, Porzingis could be a key contributor.
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