The Oklahoma City Thunder made a huge splash during this past offseason after trading away Enes Kanter, Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo away in order to land both Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, kind of jeopardizing their entire future to get a rental for a couple of All-Star forwards.
Naturally, those moves raised a lot of controversy regarding players ability to coexist with Russell Westbrook, being all of them ball-dominant stars that used to have the offense flow through them.
The Thunder was a roller coaster all season long, thriving against the best teams in the league and then struggling versus subpar opposition, with everybody expecting them to peak during the playoffs to make a Championship run.
After Donovan Mitchell and Utah Jazz eliminated them from NBA Playoffs, the OKC will need to resolve some problems if they want to stay relevant in the Western Conference.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the 4 biggest problems they need to attend during the summer.
4. Billy Donovan
Billy Donovan has never truly convinced anybody that he’s actually worthy of an NBA coaching job, and he’s miserably failed to make adjustments both in the games and between matchups. Not to take any credit away from the Jazz, who have played terrific basketball all year long, but Coach Donovan doesn’t seem to have an answer for anything they throw at him.
Other than managing Westbrook’s, Melo’s and George’s egos and finding away from them to coexist, he’s proved nothing since he took the job, and with back-to-back 1st round exits, there are going to be a lot of question marks over his head and whether he’s the right guy for this position or not.
3. Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony has been a major bust for the Oklahoma City Thunder all season long, posting career lows in most categories, stopping the offensive flow of the game, getting schooled on defense and bricking shot after shot, looking more like a liability rather than a true asset.
So, they’re going to have to buy him out, as he’s definitely going to opt in on the last year of his deal in order to cash those 28 million the team still owes him. He knows he’s not getting paid elsewhere and he’s not worthy of more than the veteran minimum anymore, so Sam Presti’s going to have to convince him to take slightly less cash in order to walk him out the door.
2. Paul George
Paul George was Oklahoma’s best player throughout the season and by a long shot, thriving in the offensive end of the floor as well as being one of the best defenders in the league, but he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent and there’s absolutely no guarantee he’s going to extend his stay at OKC beyond this season following this playoff embarrassment.
The Thunder knew they were taking a huge risk trading for a 1 year rental on PG13, especially with him being closely linked with a move to the Los Angeles Lakers for a couple of seasons now. They’re going to have to put a lot of strings in order to convince him to stay, but that seems highly unlikely following a 1st round playoff exit and the fact that this team lacks true depth.
1. Russell Westbrook
It seems like Russell Westbrook may be Oklahoma’s biggest issue right now, as he’s still quite immature despite being a veteran and seems like he just wants to pad stats and prove everybody that he’s one of the best players in the league, and that kind of personal and selfish agenda is going to definitely take a major toll on his legacy despite being the lone player to average a triple-double in 2 different seasons.
That kind of stuff doesn’t impress anybody anymore and it seems like he’s become the kind of player nobody wants to play with right now. Durant already left the team because of his apparent inability to successfully lead the team’s offense beyond stats, and that “Russ needs help” narrative just fell apart after Presti surrounded him with a couple of All-Star players.
At the end of the day, it's not all about the triple-doubles but the Championship and winning.