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Oklahoma City Thunder Over/Under: 31 Wins

Things are now looking like it time for a rebuild for Oklahoma City Thunder. They don’t have any hope of cap space and are already well under the tax line. The Thunder have four players who make in excess of $9 million or more per season, with Russell Westbrook and Paul George maximum contracts being out.

Russell Westbrook and Paul George are gone, the best hope for changing the roster could come from trading either Steven Adams or Dennis Schroder. Adams is on the books for $25.8 million and Schroder for $15.5 million. Both of those amounts are enough to get Oklahoma City involved in swinging a deal for an impact player. The challenge becomes: is either player really that tradable? My answer is no depending on the situation.

Beyond this season, Adams is owed
$27.5 million for 20-21. That’s a lot of money for a very traditional NBA
center. Adams doesn’t have range beyond the paint, and while he’s a fantastic
screen-setter, he’s not a great passer. That limits him to doing his action
around the rim. On defense, he’s starting to slow just enough that teams are
now targeting him in pick and roll actions. He remains a terrific rebounder and
arguably the league’s preeminent banger inside, but that isn’t something teams
pay $20 million plus for anymore. Finding a trade for Adams is going to take
finding the exact right team at the exact right time, and that doesn’t seem to
exist this summer.

In any normal offseason, Schroder
would be easily moved. The $15.5 million for this season and next is something
any team in the league can do. But being a point guard actually limits
Schroder’s market considerably this summer. This is a loaded class for free
agent lead guards. Teams with cap space will go pretty far down the list of
free agents before they’d consider trading for Schroder. Even Schroder’s
most-ardent supporters recognize his upward potential is around the top-20
point guards at best. That’s not someone teams are looking to trade for in the
summer.

The relative immovability of both
Adams and Schroder leaves it that Oklahoma City is probably keeping both
players. Maybe a need for a center or a point guard arises during the preseason
or in-season, and the Thunder can find a deal at the trade deadline. That’s
probably their best hope.

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