Thunder Trade For Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard In Blockbuster Proposal – NBA Analysis Network

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have got options. In fact, they’ve got more optionality than an NBA team has ever had. No team has ever assembled the collection of first-round picks that this team currently has. 

Have you ever heard of the Paradox of Choice? Effectively, it means that when people have too many choices, it makes it more difficult to make a choice. How do you choose between so many choices? The Thunder may be asking themselves these questions. What is this team going to do with so much draft capital? 

The Thunder can’t use every pick at their disposal. They won’t have the roster spots or the cap space to support so many players. With that in mind, they’ll need to eventually consolidate some of their draft capital. Could they spend it on Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers? 

The Trade Proposal 

Los Angeles Clippers Receive: F Davis Bertans, G/F Luguentz Dort, G/F Victor Oladipo, 2024 First-Round Pick (LAC), 2026 First-Round Pick (LAC), 2029 First-Round Pick (Swap – OKC) 
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: F Kawhi Leonard

In fact, this wouldn’t be the first major deal between these two organizations in recent years. The Clippers acquired Paul George from the Thunder. The cost was monumental. In fact, it sent the Thunder on the trajectory that they’re currently on. 

The Thunder received Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That alone justifies the deal in hindsight. Gilgeous-Alexander looks like a longterm MVP candidate. Now, consider that the Clippers sent the Thunder five unprotected first-round picks and two pick swaps. Suddenly, this looks like one of the most lopsided trades that we’ve ever seen in the NBA. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

On the other hand, you could argue that the Clippers did what they had to do. This team had just signed Kawhi Leonard, and allegedly, the recent Finals MVP wanted George to join him. Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked out for the Clippers as they’d surely hoped. Could they really move on from Leonard as a result? 

Why The Los Angeles Clippers Do The Deal 

This stings for the Clippers. In the aggregate, they’d have ended up losing Gilgeous-Alexander for almost nothing. Unfortunately, that’s life in the NBA. We can’t judge this deal based on previous deals. We have to judge it in a vacuum. Is it a good return for Leonard? 

At this point, it is. Leonard is extremely injury-prone. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Thunder passed on this deal in the first place. If the Clippers can move Leonard for draft capital, they’ve got to entertain the option. At this point, they’re surely growing tired of waiting for him to get healthy. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

If they can get their own draft capital back, that’s even better. Following this deal, the Clippers could afford to move George and tank if they wanted. Even if that’s not a desirable option for them, they’re increasing their own optionality by making this deal. Should the Thunder afford them that flexibility? 

Why The Oklahoma City Thunder Do The Deal 

This is a risky move for the Thunder. We won’t deny that. At the same time, it’s a buy low opportunity. After all, a healthy Leonard would receive a much bigger return than the one the Thunder are sending out here. 

He’a also a perfect fit for this roster. As currently constructed, Dort is the Thunder’s best wing-stopper. He’s stout, but he’s also a little bit undersized. The Thunder could use a big wing that can lock down the opposing team’s best player on a nightly basis. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

With that said Leonard is no role player. He’d likely transition into a second-option role behind Gilgeous-Alexander if he joined the Thunder, but make no mistake: Leonard can create his own shots. If the Thunder want to take a step forward next year, taking a gamble on Leonard could make sense. It just might be the best option for this organization. 

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