There’s been another recent swell of mock trades featuring Oklahoma City’s best and brightest player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and it’s about high-time we put these foolish ambitions to rest.
For the last few seasons, Gilgeous-Alexander has been the poster boy for mock mega-deals. Both before and after signing a lucrative 5-year deal to stay in OKC, which hasn’t even begun, mind you.
Be it his hometown Raptors, the Donovan Mitchell-less Knicks or even western rival Phoenix Suns, there would be no small number of teams in line should guard become available.
But he’s not, and no deal is likely to suffice Thunder general Manager Sam Presti.
At 23-years-of-age, Gilgeous-Alexander put together a 24.5-point, 5.9-assist, 5.0-rebound season. For reference, only Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Ja Morant and Paul George also accomplished such feats last season.
Couple that with the fact he’s just 24, and you’ve found yourself with a massive talent.
There’s no real reason for Presti to offload Gilgeous-Alexander, despite the unfounded claims he wants out or is unhappy. Even if Oklahoma City were to prioritize the draft for two more complete seasons (which isn’t the case and has been detailed in Presti’s future plans), Gilgeous-Alexander would still have three full years of competition on his current deal.
Outside of those factors that make it unlikely, there’s the return aspect of this whole deal.
Despite not being quite the same caliber of player yet as the Donovan Mitchell’s of the world, Gilgeous-Alexander’s 5-year max deal, that hasn’t even kicked in yet, makes him extremely, extremely valuable.
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To the point there’s close-to no realistic deal to be made between Thunder and [insert NBA team who wants good basketball players].
Despite Twitter’s eagerness, it’s been over one full calendar year since Oklahoma City acquired a first round draft selection.
I’ll say it again for those in back: Oklahoma City holds 17 first round picks in the next seven drafts, they are no longer in pick acquisition mode.
Trading Gilgeous-Alexander for a buku of draft selections doesn’t tickle Presti’s fancy any longer. And it’s likely counterintuitive for any teams to give up a player of Gilgeous-Alexander’s caliber.
Of course, Presti wouldn’t be doing his job as GM if he wasn’t listening to calls on SGA’s value. But most of those calls are likely composed of a firm nah, some mild chit chat and the dial tone.
But there’s simply no deal for Gilgeous-Alexander that leaves either team feeling like Game of Thrones is back (shoutout House of the Dragon.)
Oklahoma City simply doesn’t need Suns, Raptors or Knicks draft picks or their upcoming connective pieces for a roster without a star point guard.
So the next time a team value’s a highly-productive young star with a significant amount of time left on his contract for a less-than-adequate return, kindly point them here.