Among some fans, there was frustration the Thunder didn’t make a deal on deadline day.
But here’s the thing: They tried to. Via Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:
Even after Shumpert suffered a strained left MCL in a Knicks loss last Wednesday, Oklahoma City was willing to part with this season’s first-round draft pick to land the Knicks shooting guard, according to sources with knowledge of the trade discussions. The Knicks, however, refused to do the deal because they weren’t getting a current player in return who could help them make a push for this season’s Eastern Conference playoffs. At the end of the day, they deemed Shumpert more valuable than the 28th pick (or whatever low pick OKC gets) of the draft, sources said.
Shumpert would’ve been a really quality move for the Thunder for a couple of reasons. 1) He’s a good player. 2) He wouldn’t have cost much (making $1.7 million this season) and fit nicely into a trade exception and under the luxury tax. 3) He’s a potential replacement for Thabo Sefolosha at shooting guard if Thabo isn’t re-signed in the offseason. And 4) Giving up the 28-30th overall pick is a small price to pay to get a quality starting caliber player in return.
The Knicks rejected it, probably because they didn’t know what Presti was offering when he called and said the words “first round pick.” They wanted another player — probably Perry Jones III or Andre Roberson — but the Thunder were pretty staunchly opposed to giving up anyone on this current roster at the deadline, according to a couple league sources plugged into the team’s thinking.
I was also told that the Thunder looked at Jimmer Fredette, but couldn’t make that deal happen because Fredette wasn’t keen on coming to OKC for fear of not finding any playing time in a contract year. And I’m sure there were a few other places Presti called looking for a trade partner, but things never worked out.
Which suggests as the buyout market shapes up, the Thunder will be an interested party. They have two roster spots available, money to spend, and a desire to add pieces heading to the playoffs. But it takes two to make a deal happen.