The Thunder’s exit interviews were today, less than 12 hours after the team’s final regular season game. Here are some notable takeaways from today’s presser:
Thunder Head Coach Mark Daigneault poked fun at The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel by saying that Kenrich Williams would flush out his annoyance with the COVID related distractions this season.
Besides this being a fun little moment, it provides insight into the size of Williams’ influence when it comes to reinforcing the Thunder Culture. If the head coach and organization love Williams this much, it will be hard to see the Thunder trade him in the near future unless they get blown away by an offer.
As Zach Lowe of ESPN noted last week, there were multiple playoff teams interested in trading for Williams this past trade deadline. The interest is definitely there for the 26 year old.
Al Horford addressed potential trade discussions by saying the team will talk it out in the future. Horford spoke diplomatically when asked about a potential trade in the offseason. Nonetheless, it should be expected that Horford will start next season with a new team, whether that comes via a trade or buyout is to be determined.
Mike Muscala seems to really love being in OKC. During the presser, he got really emotional when speaking about how much the organization has meant to him and how he would still be a Thunder fan even if he is no longer with the team. It feels weird to have an NBA player love OKC as much as Muscala does considering the fact that Oklahoma is not a free agent destination for most players. It will be interesting to see what the team does in the offseason with Muscala. Mike said he would love to come back.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gave an update on his plantar fasciitis:
SGA also mentioned that he would play for Team Canada this summer if he is 100% healthy. It was inferred that SGA is still in the recovery process with his injury.
Lu Dort mentioned that he would be interested in playing for Team Canada as well. Dort also spoke about his rise as a Thunder cult hero.
Lu Dort on becoming a meme: "I feel like it's pretty funny. It's nice to see the fans do all that."— Clemente Almanza (@CAlmanza1007) May 17, 2021
Tony Bradley spoke about his restricted free agency this summer. Bradley stated that he loved his time in OKC but he does not know what his next move will be. This was a safe answer to give for Tony but I doubt Bradley returns next season. It felt like his fate was sealed when the Thunder signed Moses Brown to a multiyear extension.
Kenrich Williams announced that he expects to be back next season and spoke proudly of his leadership role within the team. It is pretty crazy to think just how much Williams’ role has grown this season. He went from being a bottom of the roster guy to a locker room leader within 72 games; that is quite the rise.
Svi Mykhailiuk said that he could see himself being a long term fit for the Thunder as he enters RFA. The Thunder will have to decide this summer if they want to bring back the 23-year-old after he averaged 10.3 points in 30 games with the team this season.
Isaiah Roby shared his experiences with plantar fasciitis with SGA. Roby told Shai to take his time with recovery and not to force anything due to the possibility of making it worse, which could lead to surgery. Roby said he dealt with his plantar fasciitis for years but the Thunder medical staff did a great job at handling his injury last season.
Gilgeous-Alexander has missed the last couple months of the season dealing with plantar fasciitis. This can be a very scary injury to deal with if not treated properly, but thankfully, it seems like all parties involved recognize the threat and are being very cautious with his injury.
Ty Jerome mentioned that he thought the team handled COVID protocols really well and said that the team did not have a single positive case throughout the entire season. This is very impressive, especially for a team with so many young guys. It speaks volumes to the team’s professionalism.
Aleksej Pokusevski said he was undecided on whether or not he plans on playing for Team Serbia. Pokusevski said he plans on taking a few weeks off before he begins to work out with the aim of gaining strength.
Much like Poku, Theo Maledon said he was still unsure on a decision to play for Team France this summer.
Josh Hall mentioned that he loves the decision he made of going into the NBA straight out of high school. He says the Thunder make it easy not to regret it because they are an organization that cares about development.
I am not too sure what Hall’s future will be in the league, but the fact that so many of the young players emphasize how much the team prioritizes player development is a proud stamp of approval to have.
Gabriel Deck said he wants to play for Team Argentina over the summer but plans on staying in OKC to train.
An important date for Thunder fans will be next Tuesday, May 25. That is when the NBA will flip coins to break tiebreakers in the lottery standings. For the Thunder, this involves who gets the fourth best odds between them and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The draft lottery will be held on June 22.