Off-season Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

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.

 

Money Situation

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

 

Outlook

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

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