This week’s installment of WTLC Oklahoma City Thunder Q and A centers around pressing topics such as free-agency, the draft, and potential trade scenarios.
Thanks to our loyal Twitter followers for supplying a pair of intriguing questions.
@WTLC What will be the biggest free agency move this summer and what will the thunder to free agency wise?— Silver Surfer (@ADE_ZERO) May 21, 2017
A: Unlike last summer, when our world hinged on Durant’s decision, this offseason, due to cap constraints, Presti’s moves will be far less sexy, but no less important to OKC’s future.
That stated, facing the luxury tax, Oklahoma City may dump salary by stretch-provisioning Kyle Singler and allowing free-agents Andre Roberson and Taj Gibson to sign with other teams. Also, Enes Kanter perpetually resides upon the trading-block.
Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook is likely to sign a super-max extension valued at five-years and $207 Million.
Though, Oklahoma City’s most compelling free-agency sub-plot will unfold July 1 as generous open-market offers come Andre Roberson’s way. Will Presti match for the potential All-NBA defender?
With the team’s current financial state of affairs, Westbrook, Adams, and Oladipo —each extended last summer— might be flanked by a bevy of new faces this October.
To answer your initial question: I feel that after years of failing to get over the hump, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will sign with new suitors, thus ending “Lob City.”
While Griffin is a shell of his former explosive self, and now far less transformative than Paul, expect Paul to instantly boost the competitive stead of whichever franchise he opts to give the final years of his prime to.
@WTLC Who would you like to see them draft in June? Trade possibilities?— Matthew Engel (@MatthewEngel8) May 21, 2017
A: While some clamor that Oklahoma City select a floor-general at #21, given OKC’s roster construct, a wing or post option would provide greater immediate benefit.
The reason: As an NBA rookie, the point guard position is the most difficult to learn. Further, as Westbrook approaches 29-years-of-age, and naturally will require greater rest, Presti’s tight free-agency resources are likely to be spent on veteran backup PG assistance for his MVP candidate.
Though, even if Presti opts not to pursue any names on this summer’s market, the contract availability of Semaj Christon is a smarter choice than selecting an inexperienced mid-late first round point guard that must be house broken.
Christon does own one season of NBA life and is already into his learning curve.
So then, who does Oklahoma City draft?
While the Thunder holds the contractual rights of promising D-Leaguer Dakari Johnson, this summer both Kanter and Gibson could potentially be lost. Therefore, a common-sense choice for the Thunder is Harry Giles.
If Giles is not available, a wing prospect such as Dwayne Bacon is worth a gamble.
To answer the trade question: While provocative, and always fun for speculation, realistically, facing serious financial concerns, the best strategy for OKC would be to move Kanter’s $17-18 Million per season remaining contract for a future first-round pick.
Ditto for Victor Oladipo. Although, Kanter is the most obvious trade candidate.
A look at Oklahoma City’s urgent financial situation: