Thunder Pursuing Backup Big Man?

The Thunder, who are currently without center Nerlens Noel, are “actively pursuing” backup big men, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports hears (Twitter link).

As Smith notes, Oklahoma City is averse to taking on much – if any – money due to luxury tax concerns. Currently, the team’s tax bill projects to be easily the highest in the NBA. Still, the Thunder feel they need at least one more big man to their roster for the postseason, Smith adds.

Noel has been a solid backup center for the Thunder this season behind Steven Adams, but took a scary fall during Tuesday’s loss to the Timberwolves and was diagnosed with a concussion. Noel appears to have avoided a more serious injury, such as a fracture, but his recovery timeline is up in the air. He’ll need to show that he’s symptom-free before he can resume basketball activities.

Even with a healthy Noel, it might be in the Thunder’s best interests to add one more frontcourt contributor. Adams and Noel are strong defenders, rim protectors, and inside scorers, but many of their skills overlap and neither player shoots from outside. Between the two of them, they’ve attempted just one three-pointer this season.

Oklahoma City could use a big man who can stretch the floor a little for certain matchups — Patrick Patterson was supposed to be that player, but has struggled since arriving in OKC in 2017, making just 37.9% of his shots. He’s shooting 30.8% on three-pointers this season.

Based on Smith’s report, it’s not clear if the Thunder are more focused on the trade market or on a potential free agent addition, perhaps on a 10-day contract. I’d expect the team to explore all its options leading up to next month’s trade deadline.

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18 thoughts on “Thunder Pursuing Backup Big Man?

      • iamhector24

        Just because a player is no longer somewhere doesn’t mean “it didn’t work out”. Lantern did fine work here.

  1. hiflew

    How about

    Thunder get
    Cristiano Felicio

    Bulls get
    Patrick Patterson
    Alex Abrines

    Bulls get out of the multi year deal. Thunder save on luxury tax payments this season. Could be a win-win deal.

      • hiflew

        Felicio is awful if you are acquiring him to be a starter. But as a backup big man, he is playing better than Patterson right now. And in this market, $8 million for a decent back up big man is not really THAT bad.

  2. acarneglia

    Abdel Nader(or someone with a similar salary) and a 2nd rd pick to Charlotte for Kaminsky

  3. OKC receives: Tre Lyles, Tyler Lydon, and Isaiah Thomas

    Denver receives: Patrick Patterson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabberet, and Raymond Felton

    link to

    OKC addresses need for skilled big man and IT could give them a desperately needed scoring punch in limited minutes, all while dumping Patterson’s salary.

    Denver adds some wing depth in TLC, a historically decent 3&D player in Patterson, and a familiar face in Felton as a low-maintenance third string PG.

  4. A 10 day contract for a FA C works as an injury stop gap. Solving their 3 pt shooting issues won’t be so easy because of how they put the team together. I like the team, but this particular element is sort of baked in.

  5. afsooner02

    Quick….everyone propose massive trades that have no chance of happening….go!

  6. kyleallen

    Zach Randolph would be a nice fit…….But I could see them trying to acquire Channing Frye or possibly they take a chance on a guy like Henry Ellenson

    • Luckylefty2

      Zach Randolph?? Bet you 5$ he’s not in shape right now. And how does he fit ? He can’t guard the pick and roll and isn’t a floor spacer or dynamic roller.

  7. Stoop Down Low

    Kentucky guys don’t get coached up enough in college. If John Wall played for Coach K or Roy Williams he’d be a different player, same with KAT, Michael Kidd Gilchrist, and others. They all got paid but didn’t reach their potential.

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