Last season marked year one without Kevin Durant for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a season full of peaks and valleys that reached it’s conclusion in a five game first round series with the Houston Rockets. Russell Westbrook fully took the reigns and may be awarded as the league MVP for it. However, the reasons for him having to take so much on may have attributed to their early exit. This is what the Thunder have hopes in addressing this summer.
Needs: To keep an eye on the future by keep by investing in young guys on cheap deals and make smart, low cost moves that will prevent the Thunder from having to pay the repeater tax.
Wants: With the resources available find a shooter help improve spacing and possibly a solid back-up point guard.
Guaranteed 2017-18 Insider info
Russell Westbrook $28,530,608 DPVE eligible
Steven Adams $22,471,910 Trade bonus
Victor Oladipo $21,000,000
Enes Kanter $17,884,176 Trade bonus
Alex Abrines $5,725,000
Kyle Singler $4,666,500
Doug McDermott $3,294,994 Rookie extension eligible
Domantas Sabonis $2,550,000
Josh Huestis $1,471,382
Non/partial 2017-18 Guarantee date
Semaj Christon $1,312,611 July 9
Jerami Grant $1,577,230 Team option/Non-guaranteed if exercised
FA cap hold 2017-18 FA status
Taj Gibson $13,425,000 Bird
Nick Collison $7,125,000 Bird
Andre Roberson $5,457,680 Restricted Bird
Norris Cole $1,471,382 Non-Bird
First-round cap hold 2017-18
No. 21 $1,785,000
Oklahoma City owns the 21st pick which in this draft which is still a good position to address needs. Folks, I really fought with this one because there should be two guys available that could really fill one of their needs. I may regret this in a few short hours but I say they go with T.J. Leaf the UCLA power forward. He’s long, can straight up shoot it and is used to playing off of good point guards. Sure it adds more size to an already long frontcourt but if he can effectively create spacing he won’t be seen as another body creating a logjam.
The Thunder are all kinds of capped out and is inching ever so close to going over the luxury tax again. They are currently $41 million over the cap and only $8 million away from the luxury threshold. Add to that the free agencies of Taj Gibson, Andre Roberson and (GASP) Nick “Mr. Thunder” Collison and OKC needs to make some really tough decisions in how to keep the roster financially sound (especially as Russy will be up for a new deal soon) and competitive. To prevent being hard capped the Thunder will only have the $5.2 million tax MLE available to them. Whichever needs they have after the draft will have to be taken care of here.
Names to watch: Shelvin Mack – PG – Unrestricted, Jodie Meeks – SG – Unrestricted, Jonas Jerebko – PF – Unrestricted, Anthony Tolliver – PF – Unrestricted, Brandon Jennings – PG – Unrestricted