The Thunder had two picks in the first round because of the deal with the Rockets to trade James Harden. With the 12th overall pick, the Thunder snagged 21 year-old and 7’0 foot Steven Adams, who played just one year at Pittsburgh. Adams is still raw, but has some upside. While he may never become the Thunder’s starting center, he could easily become Nick Collison 2.0 once he develops a little more.
Some questioned the pick, but Adams looked pretty good in the summer league after a rocky start. He also had a vicious dunk in one of the earlier Orlando series games. While he may not contribute for a couple of years, Adams looks like he will add some needed depth in the frontcourt.
They also drafted Archie Goodwin, but he was quickly traded Phoenix via Golden State. The Thunder were trying really hard to move up from 12 to select one of the top prospects, but ultimately were unable to.
The Thunder let Kevin Martin walk away after only a season in Oklahoma City. He played pretty well, but really didn’t fit the system both offensively and defensively. Without his presence off the bench for the Thunder, they will now have to rely on promoted 2nd year man, Jeremy Lamb to take over the bench scoring duties. While Lamb has some talent, it will be a tough role to fill for the 21 year-old.
The only other move the Thunder made was the insurance pick up of Ryan Gomes. Gomes has played for several teams throughout his NBA career, and now joins the Thunder as some added depth in the forward position. He can play both power forward or small forward, but he likely won’t get too many minutes as the main backup to Kevin Durant.
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Probably the biggest move the Thunder made this offseason was the move they didn’t make. With two more years and $17 million left on his contract, the Thunder decided not to use the amnesty clause on Kendrick Perkins, and barring injury he will remain the Thunder’s starting center next season. Although I thought they should have used the provision, he might have a tiny amount of trade value left, and even if they keep him for the whole year, he will be gone after this one. With all of the big name free agents coming to the end of their contracts after this season, the Thunder need to clear out the nearly $10 million they owe him next season if they want to make a run at some mini-max type of players. The only way to do that is cut Perkins and pay him to leave.
Perkins is worth far from what his paychecks say, and with him manning the center spot, the Thunder have zero chance of winning a title. Serge Ibaka is not (and might not ever become) a reliable offensive threat, and with no post scoring, the Thunder have little chance against the elite of the West.
At +600 to win the NBA Title, I think the Thunder are very overvalued. They lack that last remaining super star, and unless they cut ties with Perkins, they can’t win the title this season, even if they do make it out of the West. If they couldn’t beat Miami with Harden, I find it hard to believe they can do it without him.