Steven Adams’ future at the Oklahoma City Thunder is once again up in the air thanks to the latest moves made by his NBA team’s front office in the off-season.
The Thunder have firmly committed to a rebuild this off-season after trading away stars Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder this week, while also moving on from coach Billy Donovan.
While the earlier moves had little effect on Adams, today's reported trade with the Philadelphia 76ers will have a significant impact on the Kiwi big man.
Trusted NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ESPN the Thunder have traded Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson to the 76ers for veteran centre Al Horford and two draft picks.
Horford, a five-time all star, is in the twilight of his career at 34-years-old but is still capable of playing significant minutes.
However, the large contract Horford signed with the 76ers last season isn’t paying off for Philadelphia, with the Florida product only producing 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game with an average playing time of 30 minutes per game.
Salary isn’t an issue for the Thunder, though, who can take on the remainder of Horford’s four-year, $140 million contract as they draft and nurture young talent around him over the next few years.
With Horford now joining the Thunder, it’s unlikely the organisation would hold on to him and Adams, who will both see themselves as starters, meaning once again talks of an Adams trade is on the table.
Adams is heading into the final year of his four-year, $144 million contract with the Thunder after spending seven years with the organisation so far.
The 27-year-old’s stats were down in last year’s Covid-affected season where he averaged 10.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, but he improved in the playoff bubble where he averaged a double-double before the Thunder were eliminated by the Houston Rockets.
Adams has been the topic of trades for over two years now and when his name started coming up back in January, NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley rated him as one of the “most underrated players in the NBA”.
Barkley said at the time he believed Adams “could take you from being [average] to being a champion”.
“Steven Adams is unbelievable.”
Adams has spent his entire NBA career at the Thunder so far after being drafted 12th overall in the 2013 draft.