Oklahoma City Thunder: Deadline Deals Set Team Up For Future Success

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of trades by the Oklahoma City Thunder before the trade deadline has set the team up for success moving forward.

Although neither trade grabbed headlines given the players involved, both deals have the potential to turn from small acquisitions into significant upgrades down the road.

The first deal saw the Thunder send back-up guard Eric Maynor to the Portland Trailblazers for the rights to Georgios Printezis and a $2.2 million trade exception. Maynor had lost his spot in the rotation after coming off major knee surgery and by trading him to the Thunder have given themselves flexibility in the following months.

Down the road, Oklahoma City can now use the $2.2 million trade exception to acquire a missing piece in the off-season without having to give up any significant assets in return. Given the play of Reggie Jackson this season, Maynor became expendable and the ability to open the door for a key move in the future is well worth the trade-off.

After moving Maynor, the Thunder then acquired Ronnie Brewer from the New York Knicks in exchange for a second round pick. Brewer, who is making the league minimum on an expiring contract, is a quality pick up considering the second rounder will be one of the last selections taken in the draft.

Brewer will be brought in for defensive purposes as he gives the team more experience in the playoffs over rookie Jeremy Lamb. The former Knick had struggled at times this season with his offense but he wasn’t acquired to score, which makes the acquisition harmless if things don’t pan out for him in Oklahoma City. However, if he manages to step on the court and contribute like he’s shown flashes of during his career, then the Thunder would have traded for a quality addition to the roster for virtually nothing.

The two trades hardly grab the attention of the news-wire but both deals have quietly allowed the Thunder to move forward with future flexibility. Whether it be another defender to lessen the burden on Thabo Sefolosha while allowing Kevin Durant to focus on offense or the cap space created by dealing Maynor, Oklahoma City has just made a team already rich with assets even richer.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the NBA and NHL for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

 

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