Russell Westbrook is ready to help lead the Thunder back into the playoffs after an amazing All-Star Game performance of 41 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, including this play from former Thunder star Kevin Durant:
Currently sitting at 32-25 and in second place in the division behind the Utah Jazz, many thought the Oklahoma City Thunder would be quick to try and scoop up a player before the trade deadline to help make the push towards the playoffs and possibly close the gap with the Jazz. The Thunder are ideally looking for a player that can play the small forward position or the small-ball power forward position. One player Oklahoma City was recently targeting was Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay who unfortunately ruptured his Achilles tendon and will be gone for the remainder of the season.
With Gay now out for the season the Thunder are continuing the search for a player that can fix the lack of production at the small forward position and have shown interest in disgruntled Denver Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler. Chandler currently averages 15.6 points, 2.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds for Denver and would be an immediate upgrade for Oklahoma City as they try to make the push for the playoffs. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Verticle the Los Angeles Clippers are also competing with Oklahoma City to try and land Chandler from Denver.
Oklahoma City could easily match Chandler's $11.6 million salary by trading Kyle Singler, Anthony Morrow and others but, the problem is the Thunder don't have a ton of assets that would interest Denver in trading with their conference rival. While Oklahoma City has their first round pick this year the team also owes the Utah Jazz a lottery-protected first rounder in 2018 and a top-20 protected first round pick in 2020 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Denver would be looking to acquire assets as they continue to rebuild on the fly as they also fight for the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs.
As the trade deadline of February 23 gets closer and closer the Oklahoma City Thunder will be trying anything and everything possible to make a push to land talent to help them in the playoffs later this season. While strapped for assets, Thunder GM Sam Presti has made moves in the past that have helped Oklahoma City tremendously.Things may look different in Loud City towards the end of the week.