Not only would this trade achieve the Thunder’s goal, it would also — probably — be the biggest talking point of the draft.
For Cleveland Steven Adams provides them with a young, defensive center who’s age aligns with the franchise’s rebuild after the departure of LeBron James. Adams has four more seasons left on his current contract, giving the Cavaliers stability in roster building moving forward.
Oklahoma City’s 21st overall pick also gives Cleveland the opportunity to add a cheap, young player to their roster to compliment Cedi Osman, Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., and the team’s selection with their fifth overall pick in the draft.
Meanwhile this trade allows the Thunder to pair Kevin Love — college teammate and roommate of Russell Westbrook — with the Thunder’s core of Westbrook and George.
Love’s age matches Oklahoma City’s roster and goals much more than Cleveland’s and his shooting ability at the center position is something the team desperately needs.
J.R. Smith is owed $15.6 million in the 2019-20 season, but if his team — in this case, Oklahoma City — waives him by June 30 (10 days after the draft), then he is only owed $3.9 million.
In this iteration of the trade, the Thunder could waive Smith and end up trimming around $7 million in salary.