It's quiet in Oklahoma City approaching the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean the Thunder won't make any moves. It just means they don't have to.
That leverage is a luxury for general manager Sam Presti, who is in charge of the West's best team. With Russell Westbrook coming back from injury, Oklahoma City should get a huge boost on Thursday regardless of if Presti acquires anyone else. He'll surely look into it, though, and you never know what might happen. When the Jeff Green-Kendrick Perkins trade happened three years ago at the deadline, there was absolutely no warning.
The search for a wing
With Thabo Sefolosha's offense falling off this season -- he's shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 33.6 percent on three-pointers, down from 48.1 percent and 41.9 percent, respectively -- the Thunder are actively looking to acquire another shooter who can play defense, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. Oklahoma City has a $6.5 million exception from last summer's Kevin Martin deal, but it appears more likely that the Thunder would use their $2.3 million exception from the Eric Maynor-to-Portland trade at last year's deadline. The team is about $2.3 million under the luxury tax.
Fretting over any "weakness" on a team this good is nitpicking, but it is easy to see why Presti would want to address outside shooting. In the playoffs, Oklahoma City will want the floor spaced for Kevin Durant and Westbrook in the playoffs, and it would be nice for head coach Scott Brooks to have an option aside from Sefolosha and Jeremy Lamb on the wing. Sefolosha is the far superior defensive player, but Lamb is a much better marksman. If the Thunder can acquire someone who can play both ends pretty well, that would make Brooks' life easier.
The vast majority of fans in Oklahoma City would love to see the team find a new home for center Kendrick Perkins. There's no need to delve into his stats; if you've read anything about the Thunder or watched them play over the past few seasons, you already know the deal. Perkins is an offensive zero, and his value as a post defender is more often than not negated by his lack of mobility. Nevertheless, Brooks has kept him in the starting lineup and it feels like the only way that will change any time soon is if that option is removed.
It's hard to see a scenario where Perkins is dealt, though, unless Oklahoma City gives up young assets with him. Is it worth shedding Perkins' salary if some combination of Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams and Perry Jones has to go with him? File this under "unlikely."
No move might be the best move
Assuming a wing player doesn't fall into the Thunder's laps, it is totally logical for Oklahoma City to let that trade exception expire. The Thunder have incredible chemistry and a championship-caliber roster, so Presti should not mess too much with what's working.
"We're going to do our due diligence, but we feel good about where we are," Presti told The Sports Animal 98.1 FM when asked about the trade deadline about a month ago, via The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater, and there is no reason to think anything has changed on that front.
Presti has preached and practiced patience while building this team, and he's also shown the ability to be aggressive about making moves he feels will improve it. If a good deal presents itself, expect him to pounce. Just don't be surprised if nothing happens.