Sonics trade for the future
It will be another three years before the Sonics fully realize what they received in the sign-and-trade deal last week with Orlando for...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Inside the tradeSonics send $9 million trade exception and a future conditional second-round pick to the Phoenix Suns.
Sonics get veteran forward Kurt Thomas and the Suns' first-round draft picks in 2008 and 2010.
It will be another three years before the Sonics fully realize what they received in the sign-and-trade deal last week with Orlando for Rashard Lewis, but next season they'll at least begin to reap some minimal returns.
Friday, Seattle used the $9 million trade exception and the future conditional second-round choice acquired in the Lewis deal and traded both to Phoenix for veteran forward/center Kurt Thomas and unconditional first-round picks in 2008 and 2010.
"We feel good about adding a player like Kurt Thomas," general manager Sam Presti said. "He's someone that we feel like fits the identity that we're trying to establish in Seattle. A tough defensive minded, team-oriented player who is a true professional. At the same time, having the opportunity to acquire two first-round picks is a great situation for our team. It allows us to continue to add young core players to our roster."
Thomas, the 10th overall choice in the 1995 draft, has played with Miami, Dallas, New York and Phoenix. Through 12 seasons, he has a career average of 10.1 points and 7.4 rebounds.
"I wasn't really surprised," he told The Arizona Republic. "My name has been out there this summer. I definitely knew something could happen. I'm not upset. I knew this was part of the business. My thing is to be prepared for any situation and make the best of my opportunity."
Thomas, who turns 35 on Oct. 4, has one year left on a contract that will pay him $8.1 million next season. He is the Sonics' second-highest paid player behind newcomer Wally Szczerbiak, who will make $12 million next season.
With 14 players under contract and the payroll at $63.4 million next season, Seattle is over the $55.6 million salary cap, though well below the $67.9 million luxury tax threshold that requires teams to pay a dollar per dollar penalty.
If Presti continues tinkering — and every indication shows he will — then he'll have to do it with more trades or by using the $5.4 million mid-level exception.
As it stands, new coach P.J. Carlesimo has a litany of 6-foot-9 versatile players to comprise a starting lineup. Rookie Kevin Durant, the No. 2 choice in the June draft, figures to start immediately at shooting guard and rookie Jeff Green, taken No. 5, will most likely see significant time at small forward.
Chris Wilcox, the 6-10 power forward, is perhaps the only incumbent with a strong chance of keeping his starting job.
Thomas was a part-time starter in Phoenix last season, averaging 4.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 18 minutes. It might be unreasonable to expect him to start 82 games, however, he's a dependable insurance policy if center Robert Swift is unable to fully recover from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Trading for Thomas also makes Nick Collison expendable. Like Thomas, Collison is a rugged 6-9 forward who can defend inside while starting 56 games last season. He's coming off a career year (9.6 points and 8.1 rebounds), and is owed $25 million on a deal that expires after the 2010-11 season.
There's also a possibility the Sonics will trade either Luke Ridnour or Earl Watson because both point guards share similar skills, were disappointing last season and have three years left on contracts.
Presti has never mentioned a four- or five-year plan, but it's clear he's building for the future. The Sonics have five first-round draft choices in the next three years and will have in excess of $30 million in salary cap room before the 2009-10 season.
"On all fronts we feel this is a trade that makes us better both in the immediate and in the future," Presti said.
• The Sonics completed play in the Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City with a 85-79 victory Friday over Dallas. Green finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds, but struggled with 4-for-16 shooting. Olu Famutimi led Seattle with 13 points.
• The Sonics tip off the 2007-08 exhibition season Oct. 9 at Sacramento. They will play just two games at KeyArena, against Houston (Oct. 20) and Golden State (Oct. 23). The most anticipated game is against Portland at the Rose Garden on Oct. 24. It will feature Trail Blazers C Greg Oden, the No. 1 overall draft choice this year, and Durant. Seattle concludes the exhibition season Oct. 26 against Victoria, B.C., native Steve Nash and the Suns in Vancouver, B.C., at General Motors Place.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|Keeping up with local players in the NBA's summer leagues:|
|Aaron Brooks, Houston||Franklin HS||Avg. 21.4 pts., 5.2 asts.|
|Will Conroy, Clippers||Garfield HS, UW||Avg. 3.0 pts., 3.6 asts.|
|Spencer Hawes, Sacramento||Seattle Prep, UW||Avg. 16.6 pts., 5.4 rebs.|
|Bobby Jones, Philadelphia||UW||3 pts., 5 rebs., Friday|
|Adam Morrison, Charlotte||Mead HS, Gonzaga||Avg. 15.5 pts., 4 rebs.|
|Derek Raivio, Atlanta||M.View HS, Gonzaga||4 pts., 3 asts. Friday|
|Nate Robinson, New York||Rainier Beach, UW||Avg. 19.6 pts., 6.0 asts.|
|Tre Simmons, New York||Garfield, UW||Avg. 3.8 pts., 1.5 asts.|
|Rodney Stuckey, Detroit||Kentwood HS, EWU||Avg. 19 pts., 4 rebs.|
|Martell Webster, Portland||Seattle Prep||Avg. 14.8 pts., 5.8 rebs.|
|Marcus Williams, S. Antonio||Roosevelt HS||Avg. 7.6 pts., 3.2 rebs.|
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.