Ranking the top 5 Thunder targets ahead of trade deadline

The NBA trade deadline is a little over a day away, which means the Oklahoma City Thunder could soon welcome new additions to their roster.

The Thunder (35-16) are in the thick of the race for the first seed as the All-Star break approaches. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has played like an MVP candidate; Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams help carve out an impressive trio.

This means this will be the first deadline OKC will be viewed as buyers in quite some time as it prepares for its first playoffs since 2020.

Odds are, the Thunder won’t make any drastic moves to the roster by Feb. 8. If OKC makes a deal, it’ll likely be to strengthen its depth and help fix some of its rebounding woes.

Entering the deadline, the Thunder are wealthy in trade capital — they have several young prospects they could trade along with an unending supply of draft picks.

If the Thunder wanted to, they could outbid anybody in the league for someone’s services.

Thunder Wire is ranking the top five trade targets for the Thunder as the trade deadline approaches:

Gordon Hayward

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder have two great scorers, Gilgeous-Alexander and Williams. Beyond those two though, they could use another. Even though he’s long past his prime, Hayward can help.

In 25 games, Hayward’s averaging 14.5 points on 48.6% shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He’s shot 36.1% from 3 on 2.4 attempts. Nearly all of his 3-pointers resulted in assists (95.5%) so he’ll be a nice catch-and-shoot option for OKC.

Health is a bit of an issue as he hasn’t played since Dec. 26. But considering the minimized role he’ll likely have in OKC, he can afford to be in bubble wrap.

The advanced stats and on-off numbers aren’t pretty, but with the price the Thunder would likely pay combined with his expiring salary of $31.5 million, he’s worth a shot as someone who could provide quality wing minutes with immense playoff experience.

Gary Trent Jr.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

While the Thunder’s bench has done a respectable job so far this season, adding another scorer and spacer is always welcomed.

In 45 games, he’s averaging 11.8 points on 42.8% shooting and 2.2 rebounds. He’s shooting 42.2% from 3 on 5.7 attempts. He’s also an expiring salary of $18.6 million.

Trent Jr. would provide OKC with a high-volume 3-pointer shooter, which it doesn’t have on its roster. Pair Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with Trent Jr. and he’ll likely get plenty of quality looks from outside.

Another sneaky feature of adding Trent Jr. is he brings a playoff pedigree — something OKC’s youthful roster seldom possesses.

Kevon Lonney

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

Considering their struggles this season, the Warriors could be forced to be soft sellers. Looney could be a perfect fit for OKC if that’s the case.

The 27-year-old has been an integral part of the Warriors’ dynasty, accumulating several deep playoff runs. In 47 games, Looney is averaging 5.2 points on 61.8% shooting, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Looney’s 19% rebounding rate would easily be the best among OKC’s regulars. He could help fix a lot of its rebounding woes immediately. The nine-year veterans’ contract is also a massive steal. He is set to make $15.5 million this season and next once it gets guaranteed this offseason.

His immense playoff experience is also a nice bonus for the Thunder as they’ll know he can be reliable and provide a veteran presence. It makes all the sense in the world for OKC to target Looney.

Royce O'Neale

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Expect the Nets to be a popular seller with its plethora of veteran wings. Dorian Finney-Smith will be the main attraction, but O’Neale will get plenty of suitors as a potential pivot.

The seven-year veteran has carved out a nice role for him in the NBA, being a backup and starting wing for several playoff teams. O’Neale can provide spacing as a career 38.1% 3-pointer shooter on 3.6 attempts.

The rebounding numbers are also helpful with a 4.8 career average. Considering OKC’s rebounding woes, it needs all the help it can get. The 30-year-old is on an expiring $9.5 million salary too, so there’s no long-term commitment.

Kelly Olynyk

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder desperately need a backup big and Olynyk fits the bill for how they run their offense. The 32-year-old will likely have a high market as he’s played a pivotal role in the Jazz’s success this season. He can do a little bit of everything for Utah and serves as a playmaker off the high post.

In 50 games, he’s averaging 8.1 points on 56.2% shooting, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He’s shooting 42.9% from 3 on 1.7 attempts. The 11-year veteran has plenty of playoff experience too. He has an expiring $12.2 million salary, so making a deal work should be easy work for OKC.

It’s pretty glaring how badly the Thunder need a backup big and Olynyk is likely the best one available at the deadline. OKC has the resources to overpay if needed.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire