Andre Must Go

Why Roberson should be traded

Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports

Let me start by saying I like Andre Roberson and his role on this Thunder team. Sure, I wish he was shooting better than 24% from long distance. And yeah, a free throw percentage of 43% is unbelievably poor. Far too often I’m screaming at my television as he winds up to let it fly, but I also think he’s one of those guys you don’t fully appreciate until he’s gone. The dude can straight up lock people down. It can’t be overstated.

That being said, the Thunder should trade him.

Remember when Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo signed their contract extensions? That was exciting, right? In case you have forgotten, Sam Presti was also working on an extension for Roberson, but the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. As such, he is set to become a restricted free agent this coming summer.

It was rumored the Thunder offered Roberson somewhere between $40–48 million over the course of four years, but that any such deal was rejected. While we aren’t certain the exact figures, there was a clear separation between what Sam Presti was willing to pay and what Roberson was willing to accept. I don’t suspect this has changed over the last few months, although it’s always possible.

So what now? With Roberson set to hit restricted free agency in a matter of months, the Thunder has two options:

A) Wait it out and play the restricted free agency game this summer

Perhaps the market for a true one-way player is less lucrative than Roberson expects, and Presti can lock him in at a reasonable price. Or, you know, Dre could field a juicy offer from someone else and Presti may find himself unwilling/unable to match — and then we all watch Roberson walk away for nothing in return.

B) Trade him now and get something for him

I don’t know what Roberson is worth in terms of trade value, but we all know how Presti feels about letting assets go for nothing in return. The idea of Dre walking this summer would likely have Sammy P’s hair standing on end, if it weren’t already standing on end in the first place.

Again — I don’t necessarily think opposing GMs are beating down Sam Presti’s door to inquire about Andre Roberson, but trading him now makes the most amount of sense for the franchise. He was a luxury on a team that featured Russell Westbrook AND Kevin Durant, but his offensive ineptitude has become a burden in Durant’s absence. His skill set is best utilized on a team that can surround him with shooters/scorers. The Thunder lacks both of those things, not to mention the salary cap wiggle room to meet his demands and have anything left over.

Any deal containing Roberson would likely include someone else — Cameron Payne, for instance — but that is OK. I just believe he has run his course in Oklahoma City, and it’s time to move on. For both salary cap and player personnel purposes.

If he remains on the team past Thursday’s trade deadline, we’ll move forward toward the summer with an eye on his restricted free agency. It’s possible that is all part of Sam Presti’s plan, but history suggests otherwise.