Oklahoma City already looked likely to swoop into the bottom playoff spot in the West and become the scariest eight seed ever.
Now they are on the verge of becoming even more dangerous — maybe the favorites to come out of the West.
The Thunder have revived talks and are close to signing off on a deal that would be a massive upgrade for them at the center spot, bringing in Brook Lopez, something first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and confirmed by others.
It may be more than just the Thunder signing off on this deal that has delayed it, there may be other moving parts of previously discussed deals.
There is a risk here for Oklahoma City — Lopez has a player option for $16.7 million next season, meaning he can be a free agent this summer. They could be giving up some nice assets for a three-month rental if he bolts.
That said the Thunder should make this happen — they need to win now. Kevin Durant can be a free agent in 2016 and the idea that he might bolt OKC for the bright lights of a bigger market are far more than idle talk, several sources have told me he has people in his camp pushing for an exit. However, win a ring and it becomes much harder to walk away (especially since the Thunder can offer a larger contract with one more guaranteed year).
The Thunder were title contenders before this deal, even if they are the eight seed this is a team that made the conference finals last year and can go farther if healthy. Lopez upgrades the team’s weakest position.
For the Nets, they get a potential point guard of the future in Reggie Jackson (because it’s not Deron Williams). It’s one they have to re-sign — Jackson is a restricted free agent this summer — but a guy they can keep. Jackson wanted his own team to run (not to be stuck in the shadow of Russell Westbrook), the Nets could be that team. And it’s in a market he would like.
Expect this deal to be finalized before the deadline passes. The only question is in what form.