Trade Deadline Deals Big For Thunder
By Randy Renner
By the time the NBA's trade deadline was about an hour away most everyone knew two things for certain, Reggie Jackson and Kendrick Perkins where headed out of town.
The attitude of many fans and apparently Thunder staff, coaches and players was good riddance to one and thanks for the memories big fella, we're gonna miss the heck out of you for the other.
Jackson was shipped to Detroit where he will get his wish, to be a starting point guard on the NBA. Jackson quickly tweeted out, "Crying Tears of Joy," at the news. Earlier in the day Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook had told reporters, "if a guy don't wanna be here, you can't make him."
Sources close to the situation say Jackson managed to "piss off" most everyone in the organization with his attitude which seemed to turn more and more sour as time went on.
In return the Thunder are getting D.J. Augustin and Kyle Singler from the Pistons. Augustin was Kevin Durant's point guard for one season in college at Texas and he's an outstanding backup point guard who's actually been starting in Detroit because of injuries. He’s been a solid player throughout his career, averaging 10.2 points and 4.1 assists in 483 career games.
Over the last 10 games, he's doubled those career averages.
Singler, a 6-foot-8 small forward, was the 33rd overall pick in 2011 out of Duke and holds career averages of 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and one assist in 218 games. He’s a 37.9 percent 3-point shooter for his career and is converting a career-high 40.6 percent from long range this season.
The heartbreaker for Thunder players and staffers was the next deal that came down, Kendrick Perkins, the leader of the defense and a leader in the lockerroom, the man who brought toughness to the Thunder, was sent to the Utah Jazz along with 2nd-year forward Grant Jerrett.
"I talked to him as soon as it went down," Durant said. "Obviously it was emotional for us, because we're so attached to Perk, and he brought such a different swagger to our team. It's tough to see him go, but everybody understands, he understood the nature of the beast, and we understand, so it was tough losing him."
Perkins got on Twitter moments after he was traded to tell fans in Oklahoma City how much he'll miss them. "I would like to start off by saying thank you to the people of Oklahoma...we are going to miss this wonderful place...all of you guys hold a special place in our hearts! Thunder Up for life!"
The Jazz are expected to buy out Perk's contract and the Clippers and Cavs, among others, have expressed interest in signing him.
Coming to OKC from Utah are two guys who could make an immediate impact. 22-year-old 6-11, 265 center Enes Kanter, who's having the best season of his career averaging 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds in 27.1 minutes per game.
He'll be the starting center until Steven Adams returns from his broken hand then will likely come off the bench. Kanter has a big upside and appears to be a true low-post scorer who can play with his back to the basket.
The Thunder are also getting veteran 6-10 forward Steve Novak who is a career 43.4 percent 3-pont shooter.
The Thunder also sent the draft rights to 2010 second round pick Tibor Pleiss and a protected 2017 first-round pick to Utah.
In a separate transaction to clear a roster spot the Thunder sent third team point guard Ish Smith to New Orleans, the Pelicans then waived him.
"They brought in some great players," Durant said. "Kanter is a 22-year-old center, young piece that can really play. DJ is my brother, I played with him at Texas. Novak and Kyle Singler, so I love the pickup of those guys. And me as a leader, I've got to make them feel comfortable the second they walk through the door."
And that should be today. All four players were expected to be at the Thunder practice facility for physicals today and if all goes well, could be in uniform Saturday night in Charlotte. If not then, then surely for Sunday's home game with Denver.
Thunder GM Sam Presti said, "We feel we have added talent, toughness and commitment to our roster and we are excited about the depth and versatility these additions provide."