Many went into Thursday’s NBA trade deadline thinking the Oklahoma City Thunder would definitely be buyers in the trade market. When their defensive ace, Andre Roberson, went down with a season-ending patellar tear, many around the league thought Thunder GM Sam Presti would try to find a replacement via trade. While the Thunder didn’t necessarily have a large cache of assets, there was a sense this season would not be business as usual when it came to player transactions.
But, alas, the Thunder decided to stand pat and hold on to the assets they do have and the players currently on the roster. The thing about the trade deadline is that you usually don’t hear about the trades that didn’t get consummated. I’m more than sure that Presti did his due diligence around the league, but either the prices were too high or the cupboards weren’t as stocked as he thought they would be.And it wasn’t just the Thunder. It seemed like much of the league, outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers, were content with staying put and letting things play out either in the upcoming draft or in the offseason. Sometimes you look at trades and hope that none of the teams you are chasing got better. And that was case this trade deadline. The Spurs were rumored to be targeting Avery Bradley, but that never came to fruition. Marcus Smart was available, but his address after today will still be the same it was yesterday. And Courtney Lee will still be shooting off-kilter threes in Madison Square Garden.
Now the focus shifts over to the buyout market. Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson, and Joakim Noah are all rumored to be getting bought out. More than likely, several other players will be joining them before the March 1st deadline. The Thunder are equipped with an empty roster spot for any players that comes available to them in the buy-out market.
The Thunder are currently 6-2 against the the top 6 teams in the league (GS, Hou, Cle, Tor, SA, and Bos). That’s not a fluke. While the Thunder may play down to their opponents on some night, they definitely show up for the prime-time matchups. Which begs the question: does chemistry matter more than personnel? This team has been constantly evolving throughout the season. Maybe Presti and the coaches were satisfied enough with the current chemistry and roster to let this thing ride out for the rest of the season. Or maybe they were hesitant to shake the tree once again.
In the end, when we look at the standings, no one in the Western Conference made a power play at the deadline. Now the question becomes: will anyone make a power play in the buy-out market. That will be determined here soon.