NBA rumors: Thunder expected to go all-in at NBA Trade Deadline

According to reports around the league, the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking to upgrade in a big way at the trade deadline.

Dec 16, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and
Dec 16, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are 17-8, second in the Western Conference, and off to their best 25-game start in five years. They're fourth in the league in field goal percentage (48.8), fourth in point differential (plus-7.2), and fifth in points per game (120.2). Check this out — they're still not content.

In fact, thanks to Shai Gilgeous Alexander's MVP season and Chet Holmgren exceeding expectations, a window has opened for the Thunder to compete. With that said, we don't expect OKC to sit on their hands at the deadline. 

A year ago, after the Thunder finished two games below .500, Sam Presti publicly stated, "We are not going to be in a rush. We're still eating our breakfast." Despite this statement, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported on SiriusXM NBA Radio that "he has heard several people say 'that’s the exact opposite of what they’re going to do.' They’re saying that publicly, they’re working behind the scenes." said Fischer.

Per Cooper Jones via Twitter:

Though Fischer admits he's unsure how the Thunder will operate, he said that every rival executive he has spoken to is, "100 percent prepared for the possibility for Oklahoma City to do that." Fischer explained, "With all of their draft picks, there are so many opportunities for them to add someone right now." Fischer is absolutely right — the Thunder have an entire sandbox of picks and young talent to play with. 

Lauri Markannen is one name being tossed around for the Thunder. While he was once deemed "untouchable," Utah now appears open to at least hearing offers. It's been reported that Utah's asking price is "five-ish firsts and/or players of comparable value." 

Although this is not a small request, it is certainly within the Thunder's reach. In terms of picks/young talent, the Thunder probably have the most to offer among NBA teams. Over the next seven years, the Thunder will have 35 draft picks, 15 of them first-rounders. Markannen is 26 years old. His versatility and upside will intrigue many other teams. He's still young enough to fit the Thunder's timeline. Pairing him next to Chet in the frontcourt would be nightmare fuel for opposing defenses. Overall, now might be the perfect time for Presti to put those picks to use.

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