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With Deadline Looming, A Look Inside The Thunder's Trade Options

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With the trade deadline coming on Thursday, the Thunder is sitting pretty.

Oklahoma City holds the best record in the NBA (43-12) and holds a four-game lead on the San Antonio Spurs for tops in the Western Conference.

So the valid question here is whether the Thunder should even look into a trade. The roster seems to be gelling well and Russell Westbrook should return any day now. With Westbrook back in the fold, it's hard not to see the Thunder as, at the very least, the favorites in the West.

One thing to remember though is that Oklahoma City has some incentive to make a deal. OKC holds a $7 million trade exception from the Kevin Martin deal and a $2.9 million exception from last season's deadline deal that shipped Eric Maynor to Portland. So basically, if the Thunder does want to make a deal, it's gonna be a lot easier than it normally would be.

If OKC does decide go shopping, it will come in one of two areas.

One: a big man. There are many who feel the Thunder would benefit greatly from an upgrade at the center position. But with everything taken into consideration, including availability of such players on the market, this option is less likely.

Two: a shooting guard. Multiple sources have reported that Sam Presti is interested in adding a wing player or a shooter to his second unit.  There a lot of potential guys that fit that bill.

So without further ado, here are some guys that the Thunder might target.

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Gary Neal

Milwaukee Bucks | PG/SG | 2 years, $3.25 million/per

Many NBA fans probably thought Neal fell off the face of the Earth after he left the Spurs, but he's actually been a disgruntled part of the pitiful Milwaukee Bucks.

Business side

This deal makes sense for OKC in more than one way. Neal wants out of Milwaukee and has made that clear, so the Bucks have a reason to trade. His $3.25 million salary is manageable and his contract isn't too long. OKC likely wouldn't have to part with much to make this work.

Basketball side

Neal is a terrific 3-point shooter but isn't limited to that. He proved in San Antonio he can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim, as well. He's a veteran that can come in and either play some point or off-the-ball as a shooter.Neal would also provide insurance in case Russell Westbrook's knee has more issues.

Kyle Korver

Atlanta Hawks | SG/SF | 4 years, approx. $6 million/per

Korver is still an elite deep threat that currently holds the NBA's record for most consecutive games with a made 3-pointer.

Business side

Korver is on the books for $6.76 million this season, but his salary decreases over the length of his contract. In his final year (2016/17) he'll make $5.24 million. This deal would be nearly impossible for the Thunder to complete without utilizing Thabo Sefolosha's $3.9 million expiring contract as part of the trade.

Basketball side

Korver can light it up. The former Creighton Blue Jay shoots 46.4 percent from 3-point range, while, for instance, Sefolosha shoots just 33.6 percent. His presence on the 3-point line would force opposing defenders into a no-win situation. Either leave Korver to help on Durant & Westbrook, or stay on Korver and pray their teammates can guard the Thunder superstars 1-on-1. Win-win for OKC.

C.J. Miles

Cleveland Cavs | SG | 1 year, $2.23 million

Miles has started 34 games for Cleveland this season, but the Cavs are one of the NBA's biggest disappointments and a rebuilding team like that has no need for a nine-year veteran.

Business side

Miles is every organization's dream – an expiring contract. Making just $2.23 million, it would be hard to believe if Miles ISN'T dealt from the lowly Cavs. Plus, there's evidence that OKC actually wants Miles. The Thunder signed Miles to a four-year, $14.8 million offer sheet in 2008, only to have the Jazz match the offer.

Basketball side

Miles averages 10.2 points per game for Cleveland and brings some solid defense to the table as well. He also shoots 39 percent from downtown, which is respectable enough to help spread the floor. This would be a low-risk acquisition for OKC, so keep an eye on Miles.

Will Bynum

Detroit Pistons | SG | 2 years, approx. $2.85/per

Bynum is another guy whose talents have been lost in his team's irrelevancy. The Pistons' veteran has an affordable contract and brings some bang for his buck.

Business side

At just $2.85 million in each of the next two seasons, Bynum is one of the most financially-realistic targets on the market. OKC could likely avoid dealing Sefolosha and match Bynum's salary with a package involving Hasheem Thabeet and change.

Basketball side

The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket is still one of the NBA's better bench scorers. Bynum has averaged eight points in 18 minutes per game over his seven-year career, so don't expect Bynum to be some sort of game-changer, but DO expect some offense in spurts. The downside: his 33.3 percent 3-point shooting.

Spencer Hawes

Philadelphia 76ers | C | 1 year, $6.5 million

The sole big man on the list comes from the downtrodden 76ers. It's unclear as to whether Philadelphia wants Hawes as part of its future, plus the big man is on an expiring contract.

Business side

Hawes' $6.5 million is a good price for what you're getting. We'll discuss his production in a moment, but there's very little chance this trade goes down without the Thunder including Kendrick Perkins' $8.47 million salary. The only other way OKC could acquire Hawes is by including Sefolosha's salary in the deal, and the Thunder wouldn't leave a void at the shooting guard position in order to acquire a third center.

Basketball side

Hawes averages 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Sixers, not to mention he hits his free throws at a 78-percent clip. Hawes even shoots better than 40 percent from downtown, averaging nearly four 3-point attempts per game. He's not an All Star and probably won't ever be, but would be an instant upgrade at the center position for OKC and depending on his asking price, might be a candidate for a contract extension.

Rudy Fernandez

Real Madrid | SG | Overseas

Fernandez' team just won the Spanish Cup, and the former Blazers' and Nuggets' wing is reportedly looking for a return to the Association.

Business side

Because Fernandez doesn't play for another NBA team at the moment, he doesn't have a set salary. So, the Thunder would have to negotiate with Fernandez and come to some agreement. The problem here is, the Thunder has no cap room to add pieces. Fernandez would have to agree to a small contract or the Thunder would have to dump someone off the books.

Basketball side

Fernandez can play, no doubt. He can score on the drive and can also spot up and knock down the 3-ball. He's a scrappy player that was known for his energy and offense in Portland. If added to the Thunder, he would be another nice option of Jeremy Lamb wasn't playing well or someone like Durant fell into foul trouble.

Jimmer Fredette

Sacramento Kings | SG | 1 year, $2.57 million

"The Jimmer" sounds like the name of a Seinfeld episode, but in fact, it isn't. It's actually the nickname of a seldomly-used Kings' shooting guard on an expiring deal.

Business side

The Kings appear ready to give up on their former first-round pick. Fredette hasn't received a contract extension and has only played more than 20 minutes one time all season – until last Wednesday. The Kings gave the Jimmer an opportunity to showcase his talents about a week before the deadline and Fredette made the most of it. He scored 27 points, including 6-8 from downtown. Depending on how much the Kings want, OKC could acquire Fredette for a package of Perry Jones & Hasheem Thabeet.

Basketball side

His 16.91 PER is solid and his 49.3 percent shooting from 3-point range is outstanding. If OKC got the Jimmer, he would provide an offensive spark off the bench and a threat from deep. Also, despite constant turmoil in Sacramento, Fredette has remained the consummate professional. Adding him to the mix wouldn't likely disrupt the Thunder's locker-room chemistry.

Mike Dunleavy

Chicago Bulls | SG/SF | 2 years, $3 million/per

Derrick Rose's continued injuries have left the Bulls in a state of flux. Chicago was a team built to contend for a title, but with no Rose they have no shot. That leaves the Bulls in a tough situation due to the money they have tied up in that roster.

Business side

$3 million per year over two seasons isn't a bad deal, especially for a guy with Dunleavy's shooting stroke. But Chicago is looking to shed some salary from different parts of its roster (already dumped Luol Deng to Cleveland) and if it's possible to deal Dunleavy for a young, cheap talent, Chicago might do it. Oklahoma City would likely have to include either Andre Roberson or Jones to make this deal work. Otherwise, Chicago doesn't have much motivation to play along.

Basketball side

Dunleavy shoots 38 percent from downtown and can certainly stretch the floor. That number is a little down from his past three seasons, which he shot no worse than 40 percent from deep. He understands where to be on the court and won't hoard shots. Dunleavy would understand his role as a complimentary player and like Fredette, would likely blend in well in the locker room.

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