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Is Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s star on the rise, or is he running for the hills?

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Everyone loves SGA, but is OKC doing enough for the young guard to love them back?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Shaivonte Aician Gilgeous-Alexander is a star and even has a long, possibly Latin, name to go with it.

Unfortunately, when a star ascends into the firmament it draws a lot of covetous eyes...

Every game I’ve watched this year, I’ve listened to the opposing commentators, as I always do (and heartily recommend). And every single one of them has waxed lyrical over our boy’s blossoming abilities. The departures of Russ and PG have thrust our Shai sophomore into the spotlight, and he’s gobbling it up on the court... But what’s going on in that cunning mind of his?

We have him under a lovely-jubbly rookie contract for another two — or too short — years. When the max money is brought out, will he stick in our obscure section of the firmament, or become a shooting star blazing towards a top contender?

Contention could well be the contentious point. Within two years, will Sam Presti have the pieces in place to retain a NBA star’s “loyalty?”

A lot of you may be scoffing, but upon reading SGA’s otherwise soothing biography — he’s Canadian, don’t you know? Ahh, how sweet! But there was one troubling detail that stood out like a sore thumb to me.

He has already engineered a move before even entering college. An unheralded prospect from north of the border, SGA boarded the Chattanooga choo-choo to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tennessee. From there, he was supposed to continue his journey further south to Florida, but did an about turn and veered north instead to join perennial powerhouse Kentucky.

Let’s retrace his previous steps, as they may predict the direction of his future path. Originally, as a 16 year-old he came from Ontario with a single offer from lowly Binghamton, which he worked into an offer from Billy Donovan’s successor, Mike White at high-major Florida. Not satisfied, he de-committed and took the initiative to reach out to Kentucky off his own bat... Anyone else getting a Machiavellian vibe off this Kid Dynamite?

Like one of his soon-to-be-trademarked mazy runs, SGA has ambitiously and dexterously controlled every move in his career thus far. After a solid rookie year at the Clippers, who is to say he didn’t ring Presti and engineer the whole PG trade for more game time!? Oh, you’re saying he didn’t? Too much?

Probably. But ask yourself this — is Oklahoma SGA’s end game? Is it ever anyone’s? Are the Thunder merely a stepping stone in the stellar career he — and now almost everyone else — sees for himself?

See the full and frank article by Ricky O’Donnell here.

Furthermore, is his cousin also a concern? Supposedly kissin’ cousin close, the two — Shai and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (aka NAW) — travelled south together. They also share outrageously long names — letters are apparently a lot cheaper in Canada...

As another combo-guard, NAW came out one year later than SGA and was taken 17th overall then traded to the New Orleans Pelicans... And, consequently has an extra year on his initial contract... Is it in our interests to acquire him and tie him to a long term contract as well?

He’s not currently much chop with a 7.4 PER, but is a rookie and likely to be cheap. Unless, New Orleans wise up and watch SGA. “Ooh, who dat? Ooh, dat boy all dat!”

What if they recruit SGA to pair up with Zion (and his cousin)... Hmm, It makes you think...

Only one option though, the kid gloves will come off league-wide the minute SGA indicates his interest and potential availability. Contract be damned.

For the brief moment our unicorn is content, getting both tutored by Chris Paul and playing as many minutes as he wants. But time is ticking, and the best way to keep a star these days is to surround him with other stars. Presti knows it too.

Could SGA’s status be the reason we’re not completely committed to the demoralizing tanking process yet?

On draft night, is our GM backing himself to find a few more diamonds in the rough of the late teens? Whatever, he’s doing, he’ll have to hurry though. SGA has two more years after this one. With only three picks in the next draft, they’ll have to show out as rookies to convince me let alone him. Or our star will follow the well-trodden All Star-studded path that Harden, KD, Russ and PG took out of Oklahoma before him.


Is it crazy to think SGA might already be looking yonder from OKC?

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