After losing Russell Westbrook and Paul George in separate blockbuster deals this summer, rumors have started to swirl around the Oklahoma City Thunder. With the team heading into an inevitable rebuild, most people see the Thunder trading their veterans before the NBA’s February trade deadline and focusing on the development of their young players in the 2019-20 season. Aside from Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, one of the top trade candidates in Oklahoma City is veteran center Steven Adams.
In the past weeks, Adams has already been linked to several NBA teams, including the Boston Celtics. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, if the Thunder make Adams officially available on the trading block, the Celtics should be the “first team to make a call.”
“Boston desperately needs a defensive-minded big man following the departure of Al Horford in free agency. Backup center Robert Williams, 21, may be the answer in a few years, but signing a 29-year-old Kemba Walker means this team wants to win now. Enes Kanter in one of the NBA’s best rebounders but is limited athletically when trying to defend the pick-and-roll and protect the rim. Adams (13.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks) would be a major upgrade and allow Kanter to feast on the East’s backup centers.”
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Celtics would be sending a trade package featuring Gordon Hayward, Romeo Langford, and a lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Adams and Dennis Schroder. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
Adams may not be a floor-spacer like Horford, but he would likely fill the hole he left on the defensive end of the floor. Unlike Enes Kanter, who has defensive issues, Adams is capable of guarding dominant big men from other Eastern Conference powerhouses, such as Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, and DeAndre Jordan of the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from acquiring Adams, the deal would also allow the Celtics to improve their backcourt depth with the acquisition of Schroder. The German point guard has the potential to be an incredible backup for Kemba Walker, especially when he needs to rest or if he suffers an injury.
The deal won’t enable the Thunder to open up salary-cap space since they would be acquiring Gordon Hayward and the two years and $66.8 million left on his contract in return. However, in exchange for Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder, the Thunder would receive a young and promising talent in Romeo Langford, as well as a future draft pick that would help them speed up the rebuilding process.