Friday, July 20, 2007

Sonics Get Thomas, Picks

If you were wondering why it was such a big deal last Wednesday that the Sonics were able to send Rashard Lewis to Orlando in a sign-and-trade deal instead of having Lewis simply sign with the Magic as a free agent, you got your answer today.

Using the trade exception that sign-and-trade provided, the Sonics acquired Kurt Thomas and unprotected first-round picks in 2008 and 2010 from the Phoenix Suns, who coveted the exception to help them out because of their situation relative to the NBA's luxury tax.

For the last couple of years, there has been plenty of talk about the Sonics adding a veteran post player to their core of young centers. That would not only give them a mentor but also help relieve some of the pressure on them to contribute every night.

Thomas fits that role perfectly as a guy with 12 years of NBA experience who has spent the last two years playing with the championship-contending Suns. Thomas can still play, as he demonstrated battling Tim Duncan in the postseason when Phoenix took on San Antonio, and is an excellent post defender.

This is another deal that brings in a player who will help the Sonics build their culture of defense, toughness and professionalism.

Down the road, the two first-round picks should come in very handy for the Sonics. Along with their own three first-round picks the next three years, they now have five first-round selections in that span with which to add to their young core of players.

I just got off the phone on Sam Presti and will be working on an article that goes into a little more detail on this later this afternoon.