With NBA Free Agency tipping off Monday at 5 p.m. CT, there has been a lot of smoke and rumors surrounding the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let’s take a look at everything that’s been reporting on free agency eve:
Is OKC interested in Spencer Dinwiddie?
According to BR’s Jake Fischer, the Thunder have reached out to Dinwiddie to figure out his interest in signing a deal with Oklahoma City. It seems like Dinwiddie resented the interest and that there is not much momentum being created for a deal.
More from @JakeLFischer: There’s been a rumor that the Oklahoma City Thunder may make an offer to Spencer Dinwiddie once free agency begins, but “it doesn’t seem like there’s much momentum there at this moment.” https://t.co/10RwevJGr4— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 1, 2021
Fischer notes that the Thunder would do this to potentially flip Dinwiddie in the future if he restocks his value as an above-average starting guard. The 28-year-old guard is recovering from a partially torn ACL he suffered in late December.
The guard is expected to have multiple suitors as he looks to sign his next contract.
OKC interested in Lauri Markkanen?
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto has reported that the Chicago Bulls will be looking to sign and trade Markkanen to his next team with the Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, and Minnesota Timberwolves as potential suitors.
Sources: The Chicago Bulls and Lauri Markkanen are open to a sign-and-trade deal. Keep an eye on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Multiple teams with cap space, including the San Antonio Spurs and OKC Thunder also have interest in Markkanen. More on @hoopshype. https://t.co/LYSPVYoj6x— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) August 1, 2021
Markkanen’s fit here is interesting as the 24-year-old is in that sweet spot where he is young enough to be part of the future core of the Thunder and old enough to be potentially flipped in the future if he rebuilds his value high enough.
Considering how low Markkanen’s stock is, finishing with a career-worst in points, rebounds, assists, and minutes per game this past season, he should not be as expensive to sign as other RFAs will be.
It would be a weird move to see nonetheless. Yes, the Thunder have a ton of money to spend, but they usually never play the RFA game.
Is Zach Collins a buy-low candidate?
BR’s Jake Fischer also reported that the Thunder have interest in Collins, who recently became an unrestricted free agent after the Portland Trail Blazers decided not to extend him his $7M qualifying offer.
.@JakeLFischer said on GRoom OKC has interest in Zach Collins and “there was definitely a thought that the Thunder would give a huge offer to Spencer Dinwiddie and flip him later non.” He says Spencer might not be onboard. Also said to look for them to use cap in FA potentially— Rylan Stiles (@Rylan_Stiles) July 31, 2021
At 23 years old, the same argument for Markkanen can be made for Collins, except he will be much cheaper to get. Collins's biggest issue has been staying healthy, going under two-foot fracture surgeries in the seven-month span. Collins also underwent left labrum surgery in November 2019.
Collins is the type of player the Thunder should take a flier on. If he can stay healthy, he has shown to be a productive wing; if he can’t, he should easily move on from the team.
The best-case scenario would be that Collins stays healthy and is a trade deadline target, and the worst-case scenario is that he can’t stay healthy or isn’t the same player he once was, and the team moves on from him pretty easily.
OKC extends QO to Svi Mykhailiuk
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported that the Thunder had extended the qualifying offer to Mykhailiuk, making him a restricted free agent.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have tendered a qualifying offer to Svi Mykhailiuk, a league source told @hoopshype. Mykhailiuk will enter the market as a restricted free agent.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) August 1, 2021
The Thunder acquired Mykhailiuk this past March in the Hamidou Diallo trade. The guard averaged 10.3 points while providing spacing in 30 games with OKC last season.
Considering the Thunder have a sudden plethora of guards after last week’s NBA Draft, it’ll be interesting to see where the team draws a line in the sand regarding how much they’re willing to offer the 24-year-old in contract talks.
Gabriel Deck back to EuroLeague?
Kantinu reported that Deck is on the verge of signing a contract with FC Barcelona.
El Barça y Gaby Deck están negociando la llegada del fenomenal alero argentino al Palau.— kantinu (@kantinu) August 1, 2021
The 26-year-old signed a multi-year deal with the Thunder in April and appeared in 10 games, averaging 8.4 points and four rebounds.
The multi-year deal was for three years, with the last two years being nonguaranteed. The deck was able to earn $3.7M this past season for just 10 games since he signed so late in the season.
The nonguaranteed years basically meant that Deck and the Thunder could break off the contract if either side deemed so. And considering that the Thunder have added a ton of new young talent, Deck’s playing time and spot in the rotation would have been in jeopardy most likely. So it makes sense that he would be interested in returning to the EuroLeague, where he would get a bigger role.
More importantly, with Deck gone, Josh Giddey could finally get the #6 jersey after having to settle for #3 due to it not being available.
OKC extend QO to Josh Hall
Spotrac’s Keith Smith reported that the Thunder had extended the qualifying offer to Hall, making him a restricted free agent. This means that OKC will have the chance to match any offer sheet he signs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have issued a qualifying offer to Josh Hall, making him a restricted free agent, sources tell @spotrac.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) August 2, 2021
The 20-year-old played last season on a two-way deal, appearing in 21 games and averaging 4.1 points. Hall did not receive a fair shake last season as he dealt with injuries that limited his playing time on both the Thunder and the Oklahoma City Blue in the G League Bubble. The franchise must like him enough to let him become a restricted free agent, as they will most likely match any reasonable offer he signs.
Kemba Walker to NOLA?
Hoop Analysts Net’s Evan Massey reported that the New Orleans Pelicans could show interest in Walker after missing out on the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes since the former Toronto Raptors’ guard looks like to be on the verge of signing in South Beach.
Many think Walker will be a lot of the team’s Plan B/C/D once Lowry was off the table. The Pelicans are determined to build a contender surrounding Zion Williamson, and if the reports that the Bulls and Lonzo Ball have a mutual interest are true, they will need a new point guard.
The Thunder acquired Walker in June from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Al Horford and Moses Brown. The 31-year-old has struggled to stay healthy, but he has shown to be still one of the better scoring guards in the league when he is on the court.
Walker is owed $73.7 million over the next two seasons.