OKC 2024-25: Thunder's Road

Eric Fernsten's Disco Mustache

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I love that trade for OKC and Alex Caruso.

Yeah, agreed

I haven't been thinking about what OKC does this summer much the last few weeks, but moving Giddey and getting 1-2 strong, cost-controlled vet role players was what I where my mind went back in their Dallas series.

Caruso can defend, shoot, and you have to think that OKC's front office noticed what Boston was able to do to Luka and Kyrie with big, strong guards in single coverage.
 

TomRicardo

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Yeah, agreed

I haven't been thinking about what OKC does this summer much the last few weeks, but moving Giddey and getting 1-2 strong, cost-controlled vet role players was what I where my mind went back in their Dallas series.

Caruso can defend, shoot, and you have to think that OKC's front office noticed what Boston was able to do to Luka and Kyrie with big, strong guards in single coverage.
The move does so much for OKC, gets you a championship veteran (your own cheaper version of Jrue) while not eating cap. You can still go get size. Like you are pointing out, I don't think Mavs could beat this OKC team now with Caruso. It was a sneaky fantastic trade which left the table open for other deals.

Edit - Can a mod move this chain to a new thread called "Thunder Road - Presti's Drive to Glory"
 

Eric Fernsten's Disco Mustache

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The move does so much for OKC

Now looking at it, I hadn't realized his salary was so low. I can see why OKC pulled the trigger at the start of the summer and didn't wait around

And I should have added: I've loved watching Caruso play, even before he got all athletic and dunky and stuff. If he'd ever played in Boston Celtics fans woulda worshipped him the same way they worshipped Smart. He's one of those guys, every three or four months I'll see a game with him in it and think "That guy should have been a Celtic"
 

Justthetippett

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Yeah, agreed

I haven't been thinking about what OKC does this summer much the last few weeks, but moving Giddey and getting 1-2 strong, cost-controlled vet role players was what I where my mind went back in their Dallas series.

Caruso can defend, shoot, and you have to think that OKC's front office noticed what Boston was able to do to Luka and Kyrie with big, strong guards in single coverage.
I think it's a rare good trade for both sides. Makes a ton of sense for OKC. They have to consolidate and bring in some good vets. Caruso fits their style of play and expedited timeline. I think they will be everyone's darling of the regular season next year. Chicago gets an excellent player too.
 

jon abbey

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Edit - Can a mod move this chain to a new thread called "Thunder Road - Presti's Drive to Glory"
Done and I changed it a bit, it should be 'The Thunder's Road' but that's farther away from the song.

Yeah I like this for both teams, agreed that Caruso really helps OKC.
 

TomRicardo

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Done and I changed it a bit, it should be 'The Thunder's Road' but that's farther away from the song.

Yeah I like this for both teams, agreed that Caruso really helps OKC.
Thanks.

At this point it is really about going after Claxton or Hartenstein.
 

Euclis20

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Thanks.

At this point it is really about going after Claxton or Hartenstein.
They've got the draft capital, I'd be shooting higher: They should make Utah a godfather offer to get Markkanen. They desperately need size and a reliable #2 (I don't know that they 100% want to bet on JDub or Chet becoming that guy), and I don't know if there's potentially a more realistic option out there.
 

cheech13

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They've got the draft capital, I'd be shooting higher: They should make Utah a godfather offer to get Markkanen. They desperately need size and a reliable #2 (I don't know that they 100% want to bet on JDub or Chet becoming that guy), and I don't know if there's potentially a more realistic option out there.
I’d be offering all the picks for Mikal Bridges.

If Hartenstein isn’t interested I wonder if they could get Capela or Okongwu from Atlanta. They will one center too many if they draft Sarr.
 

HurstSoGood

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This (Caruso for Giddey) has the potential to be one of those really nice, win-win trades, like Cartwright for Oakley back in the late 80s. Cartwright got 3 rings with the Bulls and Oakley was a perfect power forward to run with Patrick Ewing (yep, pro hoops was a different game back then). Even the picks in that deal worked out well for both teams (CHI drafted Will Perdue and turned him into Dennis Rodman and the Knicks got Rod Strickland).
 

TomRicardo

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I’d be offering all the picks for Mikal Bridges.

If Hartenstein isn’t interested I wonder if they could get Capela or Okongwu from Atlanta. They will one center too many if they draft Sarr.
I'd rather Claxton over Capela. Starr is not going to have the physicality out of the boat the Thunder will need next season.

I don't think the Nets will trade Bridges. As long as they don't own their own picks, they are less motivated to trade Bridges away especially for a load of non lottery picks like the Thunder have. If they were to I think they would look for Josh Giddy type with a bunch of picks. If the Nets could stomach trading to the Knicks, the Knicks are better trade partner if they are going to go just picks.
 

lovegtm

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The Thunder have to try to replicate the Boston blueprint. They have the perfect roster for it.

All they need now is to upgrade Dort (Smart) to a more threatening scoring wing/big guard, and they're good to go.

I guess add a good 25 min+ center to back up Chet and also play alongside in 2big lineups.

They believe in JDub as a star, and they should: he's really good. They just need playmaking+shooting at every non-C position now. l
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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The Thunder have to try to replicate the Boston blueprint. They have the perfect roster for it.

All they need now is to upgrade Dort (Smart) to a more threatening scoring wing/big guard, and they're good to go.

I guess add a good 25 min+ center to back up Chet and also play alongside in 2big lineups.

They believe in JDub as a star, and they should: he's really good. They just need playmaking+shooting at every non-C position now. l
OKC has a good roster and a good team but as you know, moving from good team to championship team is super difficult. To emulate BOS, OKC is going to need another level (or two) of growth from JDub and Chet at minimum. Plus they will need some veterans who will fit in.

(As a side note, JVG on Lowe's podcast made the really good point that one of the big strengths of this year's BOS team was that there was no drama - even though they brought in two All-Star caliber players. KP and Jrue - and Al - had the maturity to take a step back and play a secondary role to JB/JT and JVG pointed out that not a lot of players in the NBA are willing to do that. That's one cautionary tale as OKC tries to build this team out.)

And while the Alex Caruso trade was obviously good for OKC, he's not - and probably won't be - on Jrue's level. Frankly, he's more like Marcus Smart than Jrue (before Marcus's injury-plagued last year). Obligatory DARKO chart below.

84490
 

Justthetippett

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I'd rather Claxton over Capela. Starr is not going to have the physicality out of the boat the Thunder will need next season.

I don't think the Nets will trade Bridges. As long as they don't own their own picks, they are less motivated to trade Bridges away especially for a load of non lottery picks like the Thunder have. If they were to I think they would look for Josh Giddy type with a bunch of picks. If the Nets could stomach trading to the Knicks, the Knicks are better trade partner if they are going to go just picks.
How about Clingan? He has the beef to hang with Minnesota and Dallas. Helps them on the boards. I would assume they can move around the draft and pick him up if they want to.

Then they just need the wing, and I agree Bridges would make a lot of sense.
 

lovegtm

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OKC has a good roster and a good team but as you know, moving from good team to championship team is super difficult. To emulate BOS, OKC is going to need another level (or two) of growth from JDub and Chet at minimum. Plus they will need some veterans who will fit in.

(As a side note, JVG on Lowe's podcast made the really good point that one of the big strengths of this year's BOS team was that there was no drama - even though they brought in two All-Star caliber players. KP and Jrue - and Al - had the maturity to take a step back and play a secondary role to JB/JT and JVG pointed out that not a lot of players in the NBA are willing to do that. That's one cautionary tale as OKC tries to build this team out.)

And while the Alex Caruso trade was obviously good for OKC, he's not - and probably won't be - on Jrue's level. Frankly, he's more like Marcus Smart than Jrue (before Marcus's injury-plagued last year). Obligatory DARKO chart below.

View attachment 84490
I don't think Caruso is the answer. Jrue is even better than that DARKO chart shows, because he cruised the regular season and then jacked it to 100% once the playoffs started.

OKC needs a Lauri-sized move to really emulate Boston.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The move does so much for OKC, gets you a championship veteran (your own cheaper version of Jrue) while not eating cap. You can still go get size. Like you are pointing out, I don't think Mavs could beat this OKC team now with Caruso. It was a sneaky fantastic trade which left the table open for other deals.

Edit - Can a mod move this chain to a new thread called "Thunder Road - Presti's Drive to Glory"
This has a ton of Springsteen potential, “Thunder Road - Presti’s Drive All Night to Glory Days”
 

JakeRae

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OKC has a good roster and a good team but as you know, moving from good team to championship team is super difficult. To emulate BOS, OKC is going to need another level (or two) of growth from JDub and Chet at minimum. Plus they will need some veterans who will fit in.

(As a side note, JVG on Lowe's podcast made the really good point that one of the big strengths of this year's BOS team was that there was no drama - even though they brought in two All-Star caliber players. KP and Jrue - and Al - had the maturity to take a step back and play a secondary role to JB/JT and JVG pointed out that not a lot of players in the NBA are willing to do that. That's one cautionary tale as OKC tries to build this team out.)

And while the Alex Caruso trade was obviously good for OKC, he's not - and probably won't be - on Jrue's level. Frankly, he's more like Marcus Smart than Jrue (before Marcus's injury-plagued last year). Obligatory DARKO chart below.

View attachment 84490
I think the better comp is White. Chart below, which also makes clear he’s not as good as White. But he’s a lot closer (and I think has a more similar game and impact) to White than to either Smart or Jrue.

84494
 

JakeRae

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I think the better comp is White. Chart below, which also makes clear he’s not as good as White. But he’s a lot closer (and I think has a more similar game and impact) to White than to either Smart or Jrue.

View attachment 84494
Also, the gap is bigger when you do this by age instead of games. I’ll still think “poor man’s” Derrick White is the right way to think about Caruso.

84495
 

TomRicardo

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How about Clingan? He has the beef to hang with Minnesota and Dallas. Helps them on the boards. I would assume they can move around the draft and pick him up if they want to.

Then they just need the wing, and I agree Bridges would make a lot of sense.
It is really really hard for NBA rookie to come in at the center at hang physically in the ways the Thunder need. Wemby literally was built in a lab to be an NBA center and he still isn't fully baked yet and probably took half a season to get to what the Thunder need.

My guess is Clingan would be borderline to break into the Thunder rotation for the playoffs next year. Best case would be Derek Lively but I don't remember him being that athletic
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Also, the gap is bigger when you do this by age instead of games. I’ll still think “poor man’s” Derrick White is the right way to think about Caruso.
Below are the 3 of them in one chart. The one big difference between Alex Caruso and Derrick White that I see (although admittedly I haven't watched a ton of Alex Caruso) is that DW is a really really good pick and roll initiator. I don't see that Caruso has the offensive skills of DW, which is why I liken him more to Smart than either DW or Jrue.

84496
 

lovegtm

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If I were an OKC fan, PG is the dream target. He was happy there before, you could trade Dort to a cap team to clear enough space and get an asset.

If the 4 year deal is too much in years 3-4, you can easily pay the Kemba Price to unload the contract, but chances are that George is still close to a positive at that point.

Same idea as a Lauri trade, but giving up no assets and getting a better player. Obviously would depend on whether PG is interested in OKC.
 

Euclis20

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I'd take Lauri over PG, were I the Thunder. Lauri is bigger and younger, and while PG has infinitely more playoff experience, that particular experience isn't exactly a selling point (I'm also not convinced that PG is even a better player going forward than Lauri, all things considered). I like swapping Caruso (an excellent role player who could fit onto any contender) for Giddey (a promising playmaker who was unlikely to develop further on OKC) in a vacuum, but it does very little to solve their biggest problem, that being that they are small and cannot rebound effectively.

I've seen a few compare the new OKC team to Boston, and I do get that (two excellent guard defenders, two versatile wings and a tall center that can guard the rim, shoot 3s and create their own offense), but on the margins, Boston is bigger at almost every position. KP and Tatum are both about 25-30 pounds heavier than Chet and J-Dub. Boston's defensive rebounding wasn't exactly a strength, but it was far from a problem this year (11th in DRB%). For OKC, it was THE major problem (29th in DRB%), outside of everyone just being too young. Putting Caruso in the lineup doesn't fix that problem, and I don't know that George does either (he averaged just 5.1 rebounds this season, and at his age I don't see him doing the dirty work that Tatum was putting in these playoffs). They need size.
 

lovegtm

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I'd take Lauri over PG, were I the Thunder. Lauri is bigger and younger, and while PG has infinitely more playoff experience, that particular experience isn't exactly a selling point (I'm also not convinced that PG is even a better player going forward than Lauri, all things considered). I like swapping Caruso (an excellent role player who could fit onto any contender) for Giddey (a promising playmaker who was unlikely to develop further on OKC) in a vacuum, but it does very little to solve their biggest problem, that being that they are small and cannot rebound effectively.

I've seen a few compare the new OKC team to Boston, and I do get that (two excellent guard defenders, two versatile wings and a tall center that can guard the rim, shoot 3s and create their own offense), but on the margins, Boston is bigger at almost every position. KP and Tatum are both about 25-30 pounds heavier than Chet and J-Dub. Boston's defensive rebounding wasn't exactly a strength, but it was far from a problem this year (11th in DRB%). For OKC, it was THE major problem (29th in DRB%), outside of everyone just being too young. Putting Caruso in the lineup doesn't fix that problem, and I don't know that George does either (he averaged just 5.1 rebounds this season, and at his age I don't see him doing the dirty work that Tatum was putting in these playoffs). They need size.
I get it--the issue with Lauri is that he'd cost a ton of picks, whereas PG would just be money (could even do an opt-in-and-extend, now that I think about it).

I can see Lauri being the better player fit though. Maybe Danny sees reason as he inches closer to losing him for nothing.
 

Euclis20

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I get it--the issue with Lauri is that he'd cost a ton of picks, whereas PG would just be money (could even do an opt-in-and-extend, now that I think about it).

I can see Lauri being the better player fit though. Maybe Danny sees reason as he inches closer to losing him for nothing.
Sure, but if not on Lauri, what do they spend the picks on? They can't actually use most of them, they won't have the playing time. They have to trade at least some of them for players who can actively help the current roster, and if it's not worth spending them on a player just entering his true prime who is a borderline all-star and seems like he'd fit really well on both ends with the current group, what's the point?
 

ManicCompression

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Sure, but if not on Lauri, what do they spend the picks on? They can't actually use most of them, they won't have the playing time. They have to trade at least some of them for players who can actively help the current roster, and if it's not worth spending them on a player just entering his true prime who is a borderline all-star and seems like he'd fit really well on both ends with the current group, what's the point?
Yeah, this is it. Will Presti have the gumption to do what Stevens did and "overpay" (or so we thought) in trades for big time talent upgrades? If they just do half measures like Giddey for Caruso, or getting Hayward at the deadline, they're blowing a golden opportunity with their combo of youth, cap, and assets. Now's the time to get imaginative and think really big about how to maximize their top 8. Lauri's interesting, maybe Donovan Mitchell... maybe Embiid after he sees how shitty the Sixers will be post FA? Mikal Bridges? Blow the doors off a team to do more than incremental improvements while you have the chance.
 

BigMike

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Yeah, this is it. Will Presti have the gumption to do what Stevens did and "overpay" (or so we thought) in trades for big time talent upgrades? If they just do half measures like Giddey for Caruso, or getting Hayward at the deadline, they're blowing a golden opportunity with their combo of youth, cap, and assets. Now's the time to get imaginative and think really big about how to maximize their top 8. Lauri's interesting, maybe Donovan Mitchell... maybe Embiid after he sees how shitty the Sixers will be post FA? Mikal Bridges? Blow the doors off a team to do more than incremental improvements while you have the chance.
Thing is they need some better role players around the core, as well as a legit 4man . They loved their depth, but joe is what he is a one dimensional shooter. Wallace might be able to develop into a top 6th man. Wiggins is a decent bench guy, but more like an 9th man than a 6th. JWil is a fine 11/12 on a roster, but not a 7. Krenrich is a great back end of the roster guy, but not a great playing in the playoffs guy


They need payers who are not ball dominant, because Shai is hugely ball dominant, so caruso is a great fit.

I would be surprised to see them deal Dort. He has gotten better and is a good fit there.
 

Auger34

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Thing is they need some better role players around the core, as well as a legit 4man . They loved their depth, but joe is what he is a one dimensional shooter. Wallace might be able to develop into a top 6th man. Wiggins is a decent bench guy, but more like an 9th man than a 6th. JWil is a fine 11/12 on a roster, but not a 7. Krenrich is a great back end of the roster guy, but not a great playing in the playoffs guy


They need payers who are not ball dominant, because Shai is hugely ball dominant, so caruso is a great fit.

I would be surprised to see them deal Dort. He has gotten better and is a good fit there.
I looked at their roster yesterday and was very surprised to see how poor their bench was.
As you said, the only player they have not starting that would be in the top 9 for the Celtics is Cason Wallace. Everyone else is thoroughly mediocre and probably doesn’t deserve much burn in a playoff series.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Yeah, this is it. Will Presti have the gumption to do what Stevens did and "overpay" (or so we thought) in trades for big time talent upgrades? If they just do half measures like Giddey for Caruso, or getting Hayward at the deadline, they're blowing a golden opportunity with their combo of youth, cap, and assets. Now's the time to get imaginative and think really big about how to maximize their top 8. Lauri's interesting, maybe Donovan Mitchell... maybe Embiid after he sees how shitty the Sixers will be post FA? Mikal Bridges? Blow the doors off a team to do more than incremental improvements while you have the chance.
I was shocked OKC didn't go get OG. He might not have solved the rebounding problem per se but he would have given OKC some size and fit perfectly in their scheme. And frankly, there's not a lot of players who are going to provide OKC what it needs without needing the ball in their hands.

You know what's really funny? You know who really would fit in really well with this OKC team? Al Horford. But alas, Presti was too busy tanking and accumulating assets.
 

BigMike

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I was shocked OKC didn't go get OG. He might not have solved the rebounding problem per se but he would have given OKC some size and fit perfectly in their scheme. And frankly, there's not a lot of players who are going to provide OKC what it needs without needing the ball in their hands.

You know what's really funny? You know who really would fit in really well with this OKC team? Al Horford. But alas, Presti was too busy tanking and accumulating assets.
Are you suggesting Boston would have traded him to OKC? Or that OKC should have realized in 2021 when they were arguably the worst team in basketball, that they would be a top 5 team 3 years later and should have kept a 35 year old Horford?

I don't know that OJ was gettable, and definitely not sure he would have been the answer for OKC. TOR was clearly trying to move him, but stay competitive. Also, I don't think the Thunder could afford to get anywhere close to a max contract as he would be their 4th best player moving forward
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Are you suggesting Boston would have traded him to OKC? Or that OKC should have realized in 2021 when they were arguably the worst team in basketball, that they would be a top 5 team 3 years later and should have kept a 35 year old Horford?

I don't know that OJ was gettable, and definitely not sure he would have been the answer for OKC. TOR was clearly trying to move him, but stay competitive. Also, I don't think the Thunder could afford to get anywhere close to a max contract as he would be their 4th best player moving forward
Woth regard to Al, I'm suggesting that perhaps it's better keep a good player than sitting him to improve one's draft position and then trading him away for a draft pick. Kind of what Danny believes I think. But just a suggestion and thpught exercise, not really meant to be an indictment.

With regards to OG, seems to me that OKC had a ton of assets and if they wanted to, they could have outbid NYK, signed OG to the max extension, and then worry about the cap ;ater. But for whatever reason they didn't. Which is fine. And they probably weren't beating BOS either. But there are only a limited number of players who are going to help OKC while fitying in and OKC's problem is that no one really knows when that player will be available.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Sure, but if not on Lauri, what do they spend the picks on? They can't actually use most of them, they won't have the playing time. They have to trade at least some of them for players who can actively help the current roster, and if it's not worth spending them on a player just entering his true prime who is a borderline all-star and seems like he'd fit really well on both ends with the current group, what's the point?
They could use the picks to develop players to replace some of the current players once they become too expensive for the OKC market. The Thunder aren’t the Celtics where they can carry two of the largest contacts in the league along with 3 others over $25m and 2-3 bench guys making another $8m apiece. I’d imagine the core will be SGA, Jalen Williams, and Holmgren but to be able to pay them you’re going to have to get some production out of cheap veteran acquisitions or those draft picks on their rookie deal.
 

BigMike

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They could use the picks to develop players to replace some of the current players once they become too expensive for the OKC market. The Thunder aren’t the Celtics where they can carry two of the largest contacts in the league along with 3 others over $25m and 2-3 bench guys making another $8m apiece. I’d imagine the core will be SGA, Jalen Williams, and Holmgren but to be able to pay them you’re going to have to get some production out of cheap veteran acquisitions or those draft picks on their rookie deal.
Yeah, In 26/27 their big 3 will cost 130 million, and then go up to 150-160 when Shai's extension kicks in. So they will need a steady stream of veterans an playable rookies coming in at low cost. This is the problem with Adding a Markennen or OG, can they go to 175 million for 4 guys in 26/27, and 200+ million in 27/28? Can OKC have a 225 million, or 250+ million roster? And even if they did that, they would need a way to fill out the roster.

Of course the soon to spike roster cost, is a good reason to try to go for a guy like Bridges, or someone else who is cost controlled for 2-3 years.

They do have a bunch of picks next year, and they probably won't draft 3 or 4 guys, but they might either make a consolidation deal, or they might push a #1 our to 2031 picks. They have way to many #2 picks to use, but they will find a way to use them either by pushing some back, or dealing some for a player here and there.
 

m0ckduck

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I think it's a rare good trade for both sides. Makes a ton of sense for OKC. They have to consolidate and bring in some good vets. Caruso fits their style of play and expedited timeline. I think they will be everyone's darling of the regular season next year. Chicago gets an excellent player too.
The consensus is that it's a good trade for both sides... but SO MUCH so for OKC that it automatically makes me wonder if CHI could have gotten more. Giddey is a good 'untapped potential' guy to go after, but maybe they could have extracted one of OKC's thousand picks as well.

There's 165 guys in the NBA making more money than Caruso, wow.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The consensus is that it's a good trade for both sides... but SO MUCH so for OKC that it automatically makes me wonder if CHI could have gotten more. Giddey is a good 'untapped potential' guy to go after, but maybe they could have extracted one of OKC's thousand picks as well.

There's 165 guys in the NBA making more money than Caruso, wow.
I know I’m steering the Giddey train but I’m more surprised that the Bulls aren’t the ones who didn’t have to give up more. Complimentary pieces don’t usually fetch talent like Giddey…..look at Derrick White for example, everyone in the league knew the Spurs were rebuilding and all they could get were a couple low 1st round picks that could end up being worthless. Caruso is a nice role player and seemingly a perfect fit for OKC but he’s gone from one of the most underrated guys in the league to the other side of that line.
 

benhogan

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In the last month, Giddey has been on a tear. Anyone still arguing that he's a bad fit for the Thunder?
That's me

Presti should build around SGA + J-Dub + Chet.
The idea is to package Giddey + picks to a rebuilder for a more experienced All-Star level player who can help now.

Markkanen was suggested (if he wants to win now). OKC could use size upfront
Giddey was a terrible fit by the end, who was losing minutes to Joe in the playoffs.

It didn't take Presti very long to move him
 

benhogan

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Ha, win/win for all parties.

SGA & J-Dub have been incredible, Giddy isn't in their zip code. Best for him to move on. He needs more development minutes to see if he can learn how to shoot or play defense. Really like OKC's decisiveness, they won the trade. Bulls should have pried a pick out of Presti, especially if Josh demanded a trade

Looks like Chicago will do a full rebuild and move DeRozan, Vucevic, LaVine.