Sam Presti seems to be a pretty busy man here lately, and rightly so, with the leagues worst record, one would expect player movement, especially with as much value as the team has in veteran expiring contracts. At present, the Thunder have 6 players set to become unrestricted free agents following this season, and two next season. Chis Wilcox, Damien Wilkins (Early termination Option), Desmond Mason, Mouhamed Sene, Joe Smith, and Robert Swift can all become unrestricted free agents this summer, unless the Thunder move forward and sign them to extensions. Earl Watson and Chucky Atkins both have a similar situation but for next season. At this point, I would expect to see Presti move as many of these players as he can that don't fit into the teams future plans.
Its been rumored everywhere that if you are wearing a Thunder uniform and it doesn't say Durant, Green, or Westbrook on the back, that you are available to be traded for the right price. Presti has caught a lot of heat the past few years with the bold moves he's made, but maybe he's doing the right thing to position this franchise to have a long term group of players that can make multiple runs deep into the playoffs in the next decade. He's stockpiled draft picks, and shed salary at every turn, which gives him probably more tools at his disposal to build this team than any other in the league. But what now? What's next?
We've got Krstic, we added Atkins, but surely there are more moves in the works. The most rumored guy to be moving on is point guard Earl Watson, who's name was once again being thrown around this weekend in a 3 team trade that had the Thunder giving up Earl Watson. In return, the Thunder would get Jerry Stackhouse and a future 2nd round pick. But what is Stackhouse going to add to the team? He's got an even bigger salary than Watson (Although only 2m is guaranteed next year), and hasn't averaged more than 13ppg the last three seasons. I guess Presti likes his draft picks, but anyway, this trade is reportedly "dormant." So Sam will being looking elsewhere to move Watson.
Lets also not forget about 3 young Presti acquisitions who haven't made it on the court yet, D.J. White, Serge Ibaka and DeVon Hardin. DJ white is of course out having recently had surgery to remove a growth from his jaw, and its becoming more and more likely that he won't make his Thunder debut until next fall, and Ibaka is a 19 year old with an incredible vertical playing in Spain. Ibaka has drawn comparisons to Shawn Kemp.
But expiring contracts that Presti NEEDS to get value out of are Watson, Wilcox, and Joe Smith. These are all highly coveted players that teams making playoff runs are going to want to add to their team to help bolster their run into the playoffs. Presti should be able to stockpile more draft picks, and pick up more young talent that he seems so good at evaluating.
So again we're left asking, what now Sam?