Home Sports Oklahoma City Thunder 2024 NBA offseason preview: The future looks brilliant, but the improvements are obvious

Oklahoma City Thunder 2024 NBA offseason preview: The future looks brilliant, but the improvements are obvious

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DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 18: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder is defended by PJ Washington #25 of the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of game six of the Western Conference second round playoffs at the American Airlines Center on May 18. 2024 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading or using this photograph, the user agrees to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

2023-24 season: 57-25

Highlight: Chet Holmgren was immediately so good, giving the Thunder a legitimate big three so early in their process.

No sad faces in the main office. This year was an outstanding achievement for such a young roster, and the Thunder gained invaluable playoff experience before entering the next season with higher expectations and a presumably improved roster. We’ll get to that.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander showed that last season was not just a brief peak but his new normal. His 30.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2 steals on 53.5% shooting from the field paint an accurate picture of a 25-year-old superstar who is in the process of becoming one of the two-way forces most devastating in the world. league.

Gilgeous-Alexander took the reins to be the primary playmaker this season, with the ball primarily passing through his hands and without the offense stagnating or becoming a heliocentric concept. That’s largely due to the assistance of head coach Mark Daigneault, whose emphasis on ball movement and game design allows the Thunder to have a player capable of putting up monster numbers without costing his teammates touches or opportunities.

Part of their success is also due to Jalen Williams, who seemingly seems happy whether he’s scoring 12 or 25 points each night. The versatile wing is capable of playing multiple positions, defending at a high level and has no problem taking advantage of the attention given to Gilgeous-Alexander or Holmgren.

The Thunder are in that sweet spot before the roster becomes extraordinarily expensive, led by the rookie contracts of Holmgren and Williams, who have two more years left on their deals before future extensions take effect.

Because of that cap structure, the Thunder will need to strike out this summer by adding talent that fits the big three, so they can make a real shot at the title next season.

The biggest off-season need

While the Thunder had the best 3-point efficiency in the league, they ranked just 16th in attempts. They need a high-volume 3-point shooter who can shoot 8-10 per game while embracing an off-ball role. Portland’s Anfernee Simons comes to mind as a player who could come in and help the Thunder become the most dominant offensive team in the league for years to come.

Sam Presti and his staff have done an excellent job creating options around Gilgeoous-Alexander and Holmgren. OKC’s young roster is loaded with versatile playmakers over 6-foot-6 and long players who can defend multiple positions. French forward Tidjane Salaün or 6-5 Baylor guard Ja’Kobe Walter are two possibilities. A fan favorite would have to be Colorado’s Cody Williams, the younger brother of Jalen Williams. –Krysten Peek

Draft pick: No. 12

The Thunder traded for Gordon Hayward and his contract was expiring at the deadline. When the Thunder give up his rights and therefore their $47 million-plus salary cap hit, they should find themselves with over $30 million to spend. It could be more if they decide to move away from Josh Giddey, who seems to be effective only when the ball is in his hands.

That’s nice flexibility after a 57-win season and with your core still intact. It allows them to go shopping in free agency or absorb player contracts into their cap space through trade.

Key free agents


With the right summer moves and expected health, there’s no reason to believe the Thunder can’t win it all, and that should certainly be their goal. She’s aiming high, but that’s the point.

The Thunder are building one of the most promising rosters in the league. While a second-round exit is disappointing, they are loaded with draft picks, cap space and young stars. Gilgeous-Alexander is a consensus top-five pick (probably top-three), and Holmgren is on a late-first-round/early-second-round trajectory. Jalen Williams has a similar trend and will likely go in the third or fourth round of the draft, which is a few rounds better than his ’23-24 ADP.

The area of ​​opportunity lies in negotiating with Giddey. His role diminished as the season progressed and was further depreciated in the playoffs. His playmaking skill set is redundant, so OKC should trade him before he becomes a free agent in 2025.

There’s no need to give Giddey an extension with Cason Wallace set to get more minutes, or with OKC potentially spending on a marquee free agent who can offer more perimeter shooting and defense. He would also expect the Thunder to pursue a big man to bolster their frontcourt. They are undersized on the interior, so an upgrade to Jaylin Williams would give them more rim protection and rebounding.

That being said, it will be an exciting offseason and we may see Presti contribute some chips to take OKC to the next level.

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