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The Oklahoma City Thunder have made their intentions clear for this season (though, they probably would never admit) from the jump— get younger, stack assets. As one of the biggest sellers on the market, it was only a matter of time before team’s starting calling in on potential players— and it appears that Presti picked up the line for the first time on Monday.
The man dialing up the digits? Philadelphia 76ers GM Daryl Morey. As first reported by Jason Dumas of Bleacher Report, Morey reportedly inquired about Thunder guard George Hill among others.
Hill has been sidelined with a thumb injury since January 24, and likely will not see any time until March, however when healthy for the Thunder— he has been nothing short of spectacular. In the veterans 14-game run with the team, he has started alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the shooting-guard spot, putting up averages of 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 26 minutes of play.
In the 34-year-old’s role, he has been the peanut butter to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s jelly, operating as a threat both on-and-off the ball. Faced with the task of handling the ball, Hill has been able to pick his spots at all three levels with also making solid reads in the passing lanes. Without the ball, Hill has been the team’s most efficient perimeter shooter— banging home a team-high 47.5 percent of catch-and-shoot threes.
With recent attempts at acquiring James Harden and now looking to bolster their backup positions— Philadelphia has made it apparent they want to hoist the Larry O’ Brien this season coming out of the seemingly always-open East. Having witnessed Sam Presti calling the shots for the Thunder franchise for the past 14 seasons, it should come now no surprise that he may use this as leverage.
The 76ers’ package would likely have to include Mike Scott for any offer as his 5M expiring deal helps to mesh salaries, but the pairing with the big man gets a little cloudy. One bench piece in Tony Bradley or Terrance Ferguson would amass to the winning number of George Hill’s 9.5M contract, but for the Thunder’s side it would almost undoubtedly warrant one or two second-round selections. Philidelphia has made the most out of their late round picks in the previous few years as any of Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, or Tyrese Maxey would help make money work on both ends, however they may be off the table without more Thunder assets being dished in.
The most intriguing player the 76ers may tack onto a deal isn’t even playing for the main squad. Paul Reed, Philadelphia’s second-round pick in last years draft, has been dominant playing on a two=way deal with the groups G-League affiliate Delaware Blue Coats in the bubble. The 6-foot-9 forward has flashed potential as an athletic imposer on both ends, posting averages of 24.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in week one of the bubble, awarding him with Player of the Week honors.
Reed may end up being a happy medium in a mock deal between both sides as Hill’s poise and veteran presence would greatly enhance the 76ers’ playoff push while Reed would allot Oklahoma City yet another building-block down the line. The only stipulation with a deal involving Reed is that a deal would still need Scott + a bench chip, but the Thunder may be willing to spew out another contract or pick to snag the 21-year=old— waiving one or two of the other trade chips to convert his contract.
With George Hill being the first Thunder veteran to garner interest amongst the league, it will be an interesting ordeal seeing which team’s join on the guard’s sweepstakes, and what value he may net Oklahoma City. Knowing Sam Presti— nothing is out of the equation.