The Oklahoma City Thunder is currently battling it out with the Miami Heat for an NBA title, but are team executives already looking ahead to what the future holds?
Coming into this season, everyone more or less expected Oklahoma City to be what they ended up. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook signed to lengthy deals, James Harden on the verge of a breakout year and plenty of complimentary role players in place, the Thunder looked poised to make a run.
Teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers looked like they might wreck some havoc in the West at certain points but, ultimately, the Thunder were consistently, hands down, the best and most prolific team in the conference during the regular season.
In the playoffs, it was more of the same. OKC rolled through the first two rounds with relative ease, and then it cemented itself as one of the mentally tougher teams in The Association by coming back from an 0-2 hole to beat the Spurs. Regardless of whether or not the squad can pull off a similar thing versus the Miami Heat – the Thunder's status as a powerhouse is beyond reproach now.
Unfortunately, in the NBA, that’s not enough. What you did before has relatively little bearing on what happens next, and when you opt to stand still instead of moving forward, you inevitably end up moving backwards. All of which explains the murmurs of OKC perhaps, maybe, being a landing spot during the offseason for one of the league’s big name veteran free agents. As noted by Sam Amico of Fox Sports:
— The Thunder’s trip to the Finals, and promising future, could make Oklahoma City a hot spot for free agents nearing the end of their careers, according to multiple sources within the league. That’s good, because no matter what happens, the Thunder will be looking to add veteran pieces for cheap. Don’t be shocked if they get serious consideration from the likes of Allen, Andre Miller (Nuggets) or Kirk Hinrich (Hawks), among others.
— All of the Thunder’s key pieces are under contract through at least next season, with Derek Fisher being the lone notable free agent. So a veteran guard will be high on team’s priority list come July.
Allen and Miller will unquestionably have better offers on the table this summer – both in terms of money and potential playing time. That said, if you’re looking to win a ring with a quality organization, few squads can offer that in the way that the Thunder can.
At the moment, either guy ending up in OKC is unlikely, but definitely not more unlikely than the team getting rid of James Harden.
(Kudos Fox Sports)