Could Steven Adams be on the way out of Oklahoma City? Right now the main thing on his mind is likely salvaging the Thunders’ 3-1 series deficit in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. However, there are rumours swirling in New Zealand media that he may well find himself traded in the coming off-season.
As usual with Adams, the reports are based on pure speculation more than anything else. However they do at least come from a source with a reasonable degree of credibility.
Speaking on his podcast on The Ringer website, former ESPN analyst and high profile American sports pundit Bill Simmons had some harsh words for Adams and the struggling Thunder.
"The guy they are going to have to trade is Adams who has been really, really disappointing…not only in this series but down the stretch too," Simmons says.
"This is a series where he is by far the best big man and he's not really having an impact on it. I've seen nothing from him this series.”
While Simmons has a point, to say Adams is on his way out of the Thunder is quite a stretch. If the team is knocked out of this series by the Portland Trailblazers, questions are undoubtedly going to be asked of the make-up of the Thunder.
However, Simmons also points out that the team is highly unlikely to break up their superstar combination of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. It’s fair to say that if the Thunder management are willing to make any drastic moves in the off-season, Adams would probably be one of the first on the trading block.
Until such a time, though, any rumour about him moving is just guesswork– despite being treated as gospel by the NZ media.
His Thunder team are back home in Oklahoma City for tomorrow’s must-win game against the Trailblazers, but the Thunder must also win the next three games in the series to become the twelfth team in NBA Playoff history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in a series.
Adams is averaging 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in the series so far. When recently asked by ESPN if he was interested in representing New Zealand at the upcoming FIBA World Championships, he simply said he "couldn’t care less" and that "all my mind, all my energy is here [on the NBA], and rightfully so".
In saying that, if Simmons is right and a trade does eventuate, it may well open up the possibility of seeing Adams in a Tall Blacks singlet when the world championships roll around in September.