The Thunder just got waxed by LeBron James and his Heatles … and it wasn’t even close.
The Thunder may have swept the Dallas Mavericks but in all honesty, had a few plays gone Dallas way and just a few more shots dropped, the Mavericks could have won the series.
The Thunder may have beat the Lakers in 5 games but just about everyone knows the Lakers should have been up 3-2 after 5 games if not for a few misses and bad breaks themselves.
The Thunder may have quasi-swept the Spurs but let’s not forget they were down 0-2 as well.
When the Thunder won the first game against the Heat in the NBA Finals, many talking heads, myself included, figured the Finals would be a mirror-image of the first three rounds of the playoffs for OKC. However, we were all wrong.
The Thunder were flat out destroyed by the Heat. Durant was massively outplayed by LeBron James. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins played as if they were instructed not to grab a rebound or impact the game in any meaningful way. James Harden played as if he was scared to death to even be in the Finals.
The Thunder have the opportunity to become the next great NBA dynasty. However, changes are needed.
While the Thunder could possibly trade James Harden for Gerald Henderson and Thomas Robinson once the Bobcats draft him and while such a trade would absolutely solve many of their problems and improve their team, such a deal may not be enough.
I propose the following:
Lakers trade Kobe Bryant to the Thunder for James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison, Daequan Cook, Cole Aldrich, Eric Maynor, Reggie Jackson and Lazar Haywood
Before anyone starts leaving comments or sending me messages about how insane an 8-for-1 trade is, please consider there is no rule against such, and in this case, the trade simply makes sense for both teams.
In fact there have been two nine player two team trades in NBA history as well as one abomination of a trade that saw the Dallas Mavericks trade four players, two future draft picks and cash for little more than Erick Dampier and cap filler. If Erick Dampier is worth six players and cash, Kobe Bean Bryant is easily worth the above proposed offer.
With the recent news that the Thunder may actually be considering extending a contract offer to former Lakers coach and 13 time NBA champion (11 times as a coach and twice as a player) Phil Jackson, trading for Kobe Bryant makes all the sense in the world for the young Thunder. The Lakers could actually couple the above trade with a separate trade of Pau Gasol and Steve Blake to the Houston Rockets for Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin and their number 14 and number 16 first round draft picks.
The Lakers could then amnesty Metta World Peace, use the Lamar Odom trade exception to acquire Michael Beasley, draft the two Terrences: Jones and Ross, re-sign Jordan Hill and be left with the insanely deep, talented and youthful roster below:
Point Guards: Kyle Lowry / Eric Maynor / Reggie Jackson
Shooting Guards: James Harden / Thabo Sefolosha / Daequan Cook
Small Forwards: Michael Beasley / Terrence Ross / Lazar Haywood
Power Forwards: Terrence Jones / Nick Collison / Josh McRoberts
Centers: Andrew Bynum / Jordan Hill / Cole Aldrich
The above roster is extremely dynamic and depending on how Michael Kidd-Gilchrist develops could feature its own dominant “Big 3” rather quickly with Bynum, Harden and MKG.
As for OKC, the Thunder would have just five players under contract after this trade was completed.
OKC could then re-sign role players Derrick Fisher, Nazr Mohammed and Royal Ivey. They could also sign a few veteran free agents such as former Lakers Lamar Odom and Metta World Peace (after being amnestied), as well as the pair’s boyhood AAU teammate Elton Brand (after the 76’ers amnesty him) to veteran minimum contracts. The Thunder could also use their number 28 pick in the draft on a sharpshooting off guard such as John Jenkins or Doron Lamb.
If the Thunder were to follow the above plan, they would have the following roster next season:
Point Guards: Russell Westbrook / Derrick Fisher / Royal Ivey
Shooting Guards: Kobe Bryant / John Jenkins
Small Forwards: Kevin Durant / Metta World Peace
Power Forwards: Serge Ibaka / Lamar Odom
Centers: Kendrick Perkins / Elton Brand / Nazr Mohammed
The above roster is NBA championship worthy, better and more balanced than the Thunder’s current roster, period.
The Thunder did not lose the Finals to the Heat due to not having enough offensive firepower. They lost because of a lack of experience, a plethora of mental mistakes and a lack of back-to-the-basket scoring … from anyone.
In all reality, Kobe Bryant alone solves all three of those problems. Bryant is the most experienced and perhaps the most intelligent and clutch player in the league. The Black Mamba is also magnificent in the post and while a shooting guard, has a far superior offensive post game compared to anyone of the big men on the Thunder’s roster.
If the Thunder were to also add a true offensive post threat and consummate professional in Brand, a jack-of-all-trades power forward in Odom and a defensive minded warrior in Metta World Peace to go along with the Black Mamba, they may all but assure themselves an NBA title in 2013!