After the Thunder traded away Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and Jerami Grant this summer, there has been plenty of speculation that the team’s next major deal will involve Chris Paul. Veteran center Steven Adams, meanwhile, has flown somewhat under the radar, but with just two years left on his contract and an uncertain place in Oklahoma City’s long-term plans, Adams looks like a potential trade candidate as well.
While Adams’ contract isn’t as unwieldy as Paul’s, the big man’s $25.8MM cap hit complicates his value, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, who hears that the Thunder are still asking for a significant return for the 26-year-old. Sources tell Deveney that OKC is seeking a draft pick, a young player, and salary relief in exchange for Adams.
“They set the price too high,” a league executive said to Deveney. “That’s what you’d expect and maybe it will drop as the year goes on. It’s tough to take on his contract and give up picks and players. Most teams are pretty well set at the center spot now, you have a big guy and you have your small lineup. You can’t just take on a contract like that. There isn’t a big number of teams who could take him.”
The Kings had some interest in Adams earlier in the offseason, but with the Thunder eyeing Buddy Hield or Bogdan Bogdanovic, talks didn’t get far, per Deveney. Sacramento ultimately addressed its center position by signing Dewayne Dedmon to a lucrative three-year contract in free agency, reducing the need for a player like Adams.
Deveney cites the Mavericks, Celtics, and Spurs as teams that either had some level of interest in Adams or were linked to the veteran center at some point, but notes that all three clubs appear to be unlikely suitors now. Still, if the Thunder’s asking price comes down, there’s a sense that Adams could be on the move before the 2020 deadline, Deveney adds. For his part, the New Zealand native is trying not to let the trade rumors distract him.
“If it happens to someone else, there’s a chance it could happen to you,” Adams said this week of those trade rumors (Twitter link via Erik Horne of The Oklahoman). “That’s common sense. But it still affects you. You’re human. Even if they do trade me, it’s been a huge honor to just contribute to the history Oklahoma (City) is making.“