After the opening of the free market, the center of the stage are all giant teams with big markets. Like the Los Angeles Lakers, you can spend a lot of money and use the future to bet on the present; the New York Knicks actually have more than 70 million that can’t be used; the first line on the homepage is also the giant team and the ball that attracts our attention is also the ball with a big market. team. However, in this arms race, the Thunder are the big winners in the "small market."
The Thunder have to thank Kawaii and the Clippers. When the Thunder owns Westbrook, George, Adams and other superstars, but the results have not come out, what if It doesn’t matter if you put it on a team with a big market. As long as someone is there, it’s a big deal for another year. However, the Thunder as a small market can’t accept it, they can’t wait. They can’t face the high luxury tax. The reason why the Thunder are willing to trade with the Clippers is that the Thunder themselves are almost unable to hold it.
The Thunder traded a Paul George for 3 unprotected first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026) , 2 first-round picks from the Heat (lottery protection in 2021 and 2023), swaps with the Clippers draft picks in 2023 and 2025, plus Gallinari and Alexander. It can be said that the Thunder exchanged a Paul George for the future and solved the current dilemma.
When the Thunder traded George, they immediately began to consider trading Westbrook and the road to rebuilding in the future. Of course, someone Asked why not rebuild around Westbrook. In other words, because the small market lacks money, I can’t afford to wait.
Westbrook played in the Thunder for 11 years and was selected to the All-Star game 8 times, the best The lineup, and also won the regular season MVP. In so many years, Westbrook walked wave after wave, but the record is still mediocre, plus the 160 million contract in the following four years, this obviously makes the small market thunder The team can’t afford to wait, it’s not worth it.
Presti, the general manager of the Thunder, is very discerning. Like Harden and Durant, they are all from the Thunder. However, there is no way, it is difficult to keep the superstar in the small market. Cities; when the superstars do not produce results, the small market cannot be consumed, and it is difficult to reinforce them. Looking forward to the transformation of the Thunder in the next few years.
In this arms race, the Thunder are the big winners in the small market and have won the future.