Thunder Trade For Hawks’ Onyeka Okongwu In Bold Proposal

Onyeka Okongwu, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

At times, there can be obstacles on your path to success. Even NBA players can face those obstacles. Sometimes, a talented player gets drafted into a situation that doesn’t suit him. 

Perhaps a veteran is in their way. If a team has win-now aspirations, they’re not likely to prioritize a prospect over a proven entity. That’s not the team’s fault, and it’s not a reflection of the player’s abilities, either. It’s just the nature of the situation. If you need proof, look at Onyeka Onkongwu of the Atlanta Hawks. 

Onkongwu has shown plenty of potential during his time in the league. Yet, the Hawks have kept Clint Capela ahead of him in their rotation. That’s fair enough – Capela is an impactful veteran and a safe option. Still, the Hawks should consider sending Onkongwu somewhere where he’ll be able to show what he’s really capable of. How about the Oklahoma City Thunder? 

The Trade Proposal 

Atlanta Hawks Receive: G/F Victor Oladipo, 2024 First-Round Pick (Top 4 Protected – HOU via OKC) 
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: F/C Onyeka Onkongwu 

You may be asking yourself a question – why draft Onkongwu in the first place? Why do teams draft players if they can’t offer them a path towards success? Wouldn’t it be best for everyone involved if a team had a ready-made role for a player? 

In theory, yes. If you haven’t noticed, we don’t live in a perfect world. An NBA team will take a player because he’s the best player left on the clock in their estimation. It’s that simple. Sometimes, NBA teams have to shift their priorities. If they create a new problem in the process, they’ll look to solve that problem later. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Onyeka Okongwu, Altanta Hawks & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Who knows? Capela could have suffered a season-ending injury. He hasn’t. So, we can’t blame the Hawks for not giving Onkongwu an opportunity. All we can do, as fans, is wonder what he’d look like with a larger role. Should the Thunder offer him one?

Why The Oklahoma City Thunder Do The Deal 

We think so. This team could use a starting big man. Of course, some Thunder fans will disagree. They’ll argue that their starting center for next season is entrenched. Are we forgetting about Chet Holmgren? 

No. Most teams are playing players like Holmgren at the 4. With his slight frame, he may not be built for the physical hardship of playing the 5 full time. With the switchable Onkongwu in the middle, Holmgren could thrive as a weak side shot blocker. This front-court duo ought to be interesting – if not effective. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Onyeka Okongwu, Altanta Hawks & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Let’s suppose it doesn’t work. Perhaps the floor spacing is inadequate. We’re not sure how Holmgren’s shooting will look at the NBA level. That’s fine – in that event, the Thunder can trade Onkongwu down the line. Should the Hawks really trade him for this return? 

Why The Atlanta Hawks Do The Deal 

Absolutely. There’s no question that Atlanta should trade Onkongwu. He’s due for an extension next summer. The Hawks can’t pay him like a starter having not started him. At some point, they need to cut ties with Onkongwu. What should they want in return? 

For starters, they could use cap relief. The Hawks’ books are a bit messy at the moment – this deal helps clean them up. Oladipo is on an expiring contract. Here, Atlanta isn’t only avoiding paying Onkongwu – they’re receiving cap relief in the process. 

NBA TRADES, NEWS & RUMORS: Onyeka Okongwu, Altanta Hawks & Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

Meanwhile, the Hawks are picking up a first-round pick, too. Sure, it’s protected – but it ought to convey. The Rockets invested a lot of money in their roster this year – they’re not trying to send the Thunder a top-4 pick. With Fred VanVleet on their roster, the Rockets may not clear a path for Amen Thompson to start at all this year. 

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