Thunder Trade For Nets’ Nicolas Claxton In Bold Proposal

Nicolas Clacton, Oklahoma City Thunder, Brooklyn Nets, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The NBA is constantly evolving. If you’re a fan of the league, it’s hard to keep up with the trends. We see that on the floor, and we see it on the trade market as well. 

On the floor, the big man has changed more than any other position. For a long time, NBA bigs played in the paint – on both ends of the floor. Now, the position has changed.

Bigs are expected to be able to either shoot or guard the perimeter. Some are primary rim protectors who can defend in space, while others specialize in switching.

On the trade market, first-round picks are more important than ever before. They control the league’s economy. With that in mind, the Brooklyn Nets and the Oklahoma City Thunder are among the league’s richest teams.

Could the Nets make the Thunder richer by sending them one of the league’s best switch big men in Nicolas Claxton?

The Trade Proposal 

Brooklyn Nets receive: F Davis Bertans, G/F Ousmane Dieng, 2024 First-Round Pick (LAC via OKC), 2026 First-Round Pick (OKC) 
Oklahoma City Thunder receive: F Royce O’Neale, C Nicolas Claxton 

There are more evolutions around the league. Is the superteam era coming to an end? For a long time, it felt like the most common route to an NBA title. You put as many stars on one roster as you could, and hoped for the best. 

Recent NBA history suggests that there are other routes. There may even be better ones. Most of the last several NBA champions were primarily built through the draft.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

The 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers were an exception. Isn’t LeBron James always an exception? We’ll see how it plays out. The Phoenix Suns are trying to follow the superteam model, and to an extent, so are the Boston Celtics.

By contrast, the Thunder are trying to build organically through the draft. Should they cash in chips for Claxton? 

Why The Oklahoma City Thunder Do The Deal 

Defensive purists are salivating right now. There are two types of modern defensive big men. If the Thunder made this deal, they’d have one of each.

Claxton and Chet Holmgren could help the Thunder have the best defense in the NBA. Think about it. Claxton can switch 1-5. He’ll cover anyone at any time.

How will teams score when that’s the case and Holmgren is protecting the paint at the same time? With this deal, the Thunder would put opponents in quite a bind. Meanwhile, O’Neale is a sturdy 3-and-D wing in his own right.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

The Thunder may not love parting with Dieng before exploring his potential, but it’s a cost worth paying. This could be the deal that takes them from a plucky upstart to a true title contender.

Should the Nets help them make that shift? 

Why The Brooklyn Nets Do The Deal 

Draft picks may dominate the trade market, and the Nets may have plenty of them. They still owe their own picks to the Houston Rockets for the foreseeable future.

Some will say that as a result, they’ve got no incentive to make a deal that makes them worse. Fair. Still, the trade economy isn’t the NBA’s only economy. There’s also the economy.

Claxton is due for an extension this summer. Can the Nets afford to extend him if they’re still mired in mediocrity? By doing this deal, the Nets would give themselves an incredible collection of draft capital.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder Updates

They could trade for any star they wanted. As soon as a disgruntled offensive superstar hit the market, the Nets would be able to pounce. Who knows? They may evolve into a contender in the process. 

About James Piercey 3864 Articles
When it comes to exploring the endless possibilities of NBA trades, there's no one quite like James Piercey. With a keen eye for player dynamics, salary cap intricacies, and a knack for discovering uncharted trade territory, James has risen to prominence as the preeminent expert in the realm of hypothetical NBA trades. James is also known for his work covering the Houston Rockets for SB Nation's The Dream Shake — a blog that gives a daily, comprehensive look at the team. He has written for various outlets, including FanSided and Last Word on Sports, among others.