Orlando and Oklahoma City pulled off a big draft night trade, involving mostly Serge Ibaka and Victor Oladipo. The trade broke down as follows:
Orlando receives: Serge Ibaka
Oklahoma City receives: Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis
The writing was on the wall for Serge after a lackluster 2015-16 campaign, and seeing Enes Kanter and Steven Adams as the preferred big men on the court during the playoffs. Oladipo comes as more of a surprise, due to the fact that he fit well within what Orlando was trying to do, and is one of the up and coming players in the league.
Let’s see what the impact of this deal will be:
Projected Starting Five
PG – Elfrid Payton, SG – Evan Fournier, SF – Aaron Gordon, PF – Serge Ibaka, C – Nikola Vucevic
Initially, when I saw this trade, I thought it was about the worst thing I could imagine Orlando doing. I don’t know how far I’ve moved from that position, but I think they can make it work. Oladipo is a versatile, dynamic player who will not be replaced in this offense. While Fournier is a good three point shooter, he lacks the overall rebounding abilities of Oladipo. The team will need major development out of Mario Hezonja and Devyn Marble.
Their free agency situation looks fair, with Fournier and Andrew Nicholson as restricted free agents, and Brandon Jennings and Jason Smith unrestricted. It is quite possible that they let both unrestricted free agents move on to other teams, as they have at least a little depth at point guard, and need to upgrade the forward positions.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Projected Starting Five
PG – Russell Westbrook, SG – Victor Oladipo, SF – Kevin Durant, PF – Enes Kanter, C – Steven Adams
In one quick move, the Oklahoma City Thunder may have just become the most lethal team in the Western Conference, if not all of the NBA. Kevin Durant has to see this as a positive move, and if this were the team that was in the Western Conference Finals, it is highly doubtful they would have lost to Golden State. I think Durant will be wise and at least sign a one year deal to see how this team works together.
Aside from Durant hitting free agency, they have a restricted free agent in Dion Waiters, and two unrestricted free agents in Randy Foye and Nazr Mohammed. Nazr can certainly go, and will, but Foye and Waiters are a bit of a different story. They both have some upside, but are these the players they want to roll with, especially considering Durant’s tenuous apparent relationship with Waiters as seen in this tremendous clip. The benefit is that players should want to play for this Thunder team, which should help in free agency.
So where does that leave the fantasy impact? Strangely, I would say it probably increases the value of Serge and Oladipo. I think Serge stands to gain more from this move, but playing with Westbrook and Durant should certainly help Oladipo’s numbers as well. Mario Hezonja is a name to watch as well, as he did well in limited action last year.