With a loaded war chest of assets, the Oklahoma City Thunder have plenty of options for the future.
With 18 first round draft picks in the next 7 drafts, the Thunder will have the flexibility to grab any number of potential star-level players. The only question is who and for what timeline.
Aligning players with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be key.
Over the next few weeks, InsideTheThunder.com will be evaluating what it would take to land some of the top available talent in the NBA, and Lakers forward Talen Horton-Tucker could potentially be a star in the making.
It's been speculated Horton-Tucker will be asking for a max contract when his deal is up, about $20 million for a player of caliber. Regardless of if its worth it, OKC will have the money to spend.
Here are SI Thunder’s thoughts on what it will take to trade for the Lakers forward:
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Derek Parker: Horton-Tucker has thrived in his limited role, making him an intriguing player. Los Angeles is in win-now mode, and Horton-Tucker certainly contributes, but not near as much as a healthy Kemba Walker would. Los Angeles, as always, is in search of star-power to combat the rest of the league. Despite Walker's health issues, Los Angeles would have to give up at least one valuable asset, or Thunder general manager Sam Presti would likely search elsewhere. Getting a deal done money-wise could be tricky, as two separate transactions would likely need to be done.
Nick Crain: Talen Horton-Tucker is certainly an intriguing prospect, but on a small sample size. Playing on a contending Lakers team, he had chances to play quality minutes, but still has never been a legit starter at the NBA level. While many teams will be willing to pay THT in restricted free agency, it could be a great buy or an overpayment. With such high risk, is it worth OKC taking a shot? With the amount of guards they already have, the Thunder would have to be extremely high on Horton-Tucker to facilitate a sign-and-trade or sign him to an offer sheet that nobody else is willing to match.
Ryan Chapman: The Lakers are in a tough spot. They need more assets to have the flexibility to trade during the season to fit their needs, but they’re strapped for draft picks. Enter Sam Presti. The Thunder can absorb Horton-Tucker’s contract on a sign and trade, and send picks the Lakers could need to make moves. A backcourt of Shai Gilgoues-Alexander, Lu Dort and Horton-Tucker would be exciting while all three still have plenty of time to develop on OKC’s timeline.