The Oklahoma City Thunder are going into All-Star Weekend with the best record in the league at 43-12. Last night, Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 43 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a 107-103 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
With the trade-deadline approaching, many teams are scrambling around looking for deals that will improve their team now or in the future. The Thunder should not be one of those teams as their winning ways continue while Russell Westbrook remains on the sidelines. His return will improve their roster to the point where they should be contending for an NBA Championship this year.
I have read multiple articles stating that the Thunder should be active in trade talks, including shopping around Westbrook for a point-guard who does not demand the ball as much. Personally, I think the thought of trading away such a great player who fits perfectly does not make any sense. I assume that most of the people calling for the Thunder to make a trade are those of who want the Thunder to fail.
Serge Ibaka‘s improvement this season is a huge reason why this team does not need to jump into the trade market. Ibaka has stepped up his all-around game. He is averaging more than 15 points per game on 54 percent shooting while grabbing 8.8 rebounds a night. The key in his improvement has been his consistency — something that kept the Thunder from taking the next step as a team in years prior. Even when he has off games, OKC can fall back on Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb.
Jackson and Lamb are the key reasons why this team should not be active in trade talks. They have collectively provided the Thunder with new life. Without their presence, I am sure that this team would have struggled a lot more up to this point of the season. Both players are averaging over 10 points and giving the Thunder some much-needed depth off the bench, especially when they are healthy. The return of Westbrook will only make it easier for them. They will have less pressure their shoulders and more time to focus on their actual roles on the team. There is nowhere to go but up for this Oklahoma City squad. Making a trade at this point is irrelevant.