Breaking New: Thunder’s on the verge to sign 7 Free agents who have been a long time targets

The Thunder should pursue these free agents this summer.

Mid-Season Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder One Mark Away From Perfect, 'Great  At Almost Everything' - Sports Illustrated Oklahoma City Thunder News,  Analysis and More

The OKC Thunder have arrived. They are loaded with young talent and are currently around the top of the conference standings. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a contender for MVP, but Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams are rapidly rising to prominence. The Thunder are expected to be in contention for years to come, but they might improve their roster even more this summer.

OKC will have cap room this summer and still have a plethora of draft picks. They could deal for any available player. It is up to Sam Presti to make the correct move that propels the Thunder into the title picture. They have several options to consider, but expect them to upgrade their roster this summer.

If Oklahoma City decides to expand into free agency, they will have approximately $27 million to spend. Presti and his front office could easily produce more if the proper player came along, but who could they bring in?

7. Gordon Hayward

The Thunder acquired Hayward just before the deadline. It cost them Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Davis Bertans, money, and two second-round draft picks. The franchise did not pay an exorbitant fee. His expiring deal was a concern, but Oklahoma City does not lack draft capital. They might have acquired anyone. Presti and the front office chose Hayward.

In his first eight games with Oklahoma City, the veteran has averaged only 15 minutes per game. He was coming off a serious injury, but both sides were probably hoping for more. Hayward hasn’t played less than 28 minutes per game since his rookie season in 2011. His role may expand down the stretch and into the playoffs, but there are no certainties.

The Thunder can let Gordon Hayward depart in free agency, but they want talent on their roster to compete for a title. Do they perceive a better fit in the open market? They will have choices in free agency.

6. Royce O’Neale

The Thunder are a deep team. They have top-tier talent and various role players. Oklahoma City is already at the top of the Western Conference, but a contender can never have too many talented players. Every team is looking for wing depth. O’Neale will have a lot of suitors, but he could be the missing piece for the Thunder.

The Suns traded for the 6’4 wing just before the deadline and will undoubtedly try to keep him. OKC will be able to outbid Phoenix, but will they? O’Neale is a solid defender who has a career 3-point shooting percentage of 38.2%. He can handle the ball and make plays, as well as shoot from the spot. He is the 3-and-D wing that every contender requires, and he is on track to make the playoffs for the seventh straight season.

Royce O’Neale would be an improvement over Isaiah Joe. Is he comfortable coming off the bench and playing 20-25 minutes every game? The 30-year-old may prioritize playing time during free agency. He clearly wants to play for a contender, but which team offers the most opportunities?

O’Neale’s contract is set to expire at $9.5 million, and he will be looking for a raise. Expect other teams to make proposals, with the Oklahoma City Thunder potentially winning the bidding as a contender paying substantial compensation. He is not a star, but they may decide that a role player is the greatest fit for their brilliant roster.

5. DeMar DeRozan

This summer, the Thunder will examine every option, including adding another star. They are third in offensive rating, but can they keep it in the playoffs? They’ll have their first chance this year. If Oklahoma City struggles, signing a former All-Star with playoff experience could be in the cards.

DeRozan is a top scorer with excellent playmaking and rebounding abilities. He is averaging more over 20 points per game for the 11th consecutive season. The 34-year-old is a six-time All-Star and has seven years of playoff experience. He is still looking for his first championship, but he has the potential to make a significant difference for the Thunder.

How would Oklahoma City distribute ball-handling duties? DeRozan is one of the NBA’s finest mid-range shooters, but he is not known for his three-point shot. He has made 29.5% of his career long-range shots and is sinking a career-high 0.9 triples per game this season. The Bulls aren’t contenders, but can DeRozan take the Thunder to the next level?

This fit would have some wrinkles to work out, but there aren’t many opportunities to add a six-time All-Star who is still a top scorer. DeMar DeRozan would have to accept a pay cut to join the Thunder, but it could be his greatest opportunity to compete for a championship. OKC may be searching for a more seamless fit using many rings.

4. Klay Thompson

It is impossible to fathom Thompson not wearing a Warriors uniform. He is an important member of their dynasty. The five-time All-Star has helped Golden State win four titles and is one half of the Splash Brothers. Splitting him from Stephen Curry appears illogical, but it might happen this summer.

Thompson has an expiring deal worth $43.2 million. The two parties have been unable to reach an agreement on an extension, and Klay will be an unrestricted free agency this July if no deal is made. He wants to stay with the Warriors (membership required), but that may not be possible. If the two sides split, there will be plenty of interest in the seasoned sharpshooter.

Thompson is no longer in his prime. He remains an excellent shooter and floor spacer, but there has been regression on both sides of the court. The 6-foot-7 wing is no longer a lockdown defender. He is still capable of making a difference and would provide the young Thunder with much-needed championship experience.

Could Klay Thompson be Oklahoma City’s missing piece? He doesn’t require the ball and is content with his role. Playing with Klay would give Shai Gilgeous-Alexander even more space on the floor for his drives. It will be difficult to pry him away from the Bay Area, but it might help the Thunder win another title.

3. Tobias Harris

Joel Embiid is the 76ers’ sole player with a guaranteed deal for next season. They left cap space free this summer to pursue a third star. Tyrese Maxey is a restricted free agent, and Philadelphia will not let him leave. Expect them to make a big statement on the open market, but that means cutting ties with Harris.

The 6’8 forward has an expiring contract worth $39.2 million. Harris will most likely have to take a pay reduction, but he remains an important role player. The 31-year-old is capable of scoring, ball handling, rebounding, shot creation, and floor spacing. Harris has some defensive versatility and can fit into any roster.

If the Thunder sign Tobias Harris, they will have a big starting five. Harris would be the fourth player in the frontcourt, with Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren. The 31-year-old also offers postseason experience. He has 55 postseason games under his belt, and that total will increase this season. Harris might be a valuable addition to a contender in free agency.

If the Oklahoma City Thunder feel that Tobias Harris is the greatest fit for their squad, they have a good chance of signing him. They may decide to try to catch a larger fish, but the chances are much lower.

2. OG Anunoby

The Knicks traded R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and a second-round pick for Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn. Toronto wanted young talent over draft picks, and New York parted with two of their best, despite his expiring contract. Anunoby has a player option for next season, but he is expected to opt out and command a significant raise.

The Knicks knew all of this when they traded for him. They probably secured some assurance that he will re-sign with the team this summer before making the transaction, but stranger things have happened in the NBA. What happens if OG declines his player option and enters free agency?

Every competitor wants a 6’7 wing capable of defending numerous spots, spacing the floor, and scoring 15 points every game. Anunoby continues to improve and is one of the top 3-and-D wings in the world. There would be a big bidding war for his services, and the Thunder would most likely need to free up more cap space to sign him.

OG Anunoby may not become accessible. He will decline his player option, but he appears to be staying in New York for the long run. Another excellent winger who may soon hit the open market has already inked a multi-year contract with the Thunder. Can OKC get his autograph again?

1. Paul George

George has a player option for the 2024-25 season for $48.7 million. The 33-year-old has been healthy this season, but he appeared in only 189 games over his first four years with the Clippers. He is eligible for an extension, but the two parties have yet to agree on a long-term contract.

George wants another big contract and will most likely choose for free agency this summer. The 6’8 wing recently made his sixth All-Star appearance and is demonstrating that he can still be effective on both ends of the floor. The 76ers and Thunder are among the many teams who will be interested.

PG-13 played two years in Oklahoma City playing with Russell Westbrook. The Thunder made the playoffs twice, but were eliminated in the first round both times. George signed an agreement with the Thunder before being moved to the Clippers, which helped Sam Presti develop OKC’s young core. Could George rejoin the team alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander? Don’t rule it out.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have money to spend this summer, but it’s all about finding the proper match. They want their youthful players to continue to develop, but it’s time to become a legitimate title contender. How can the Thunder get the most out of their current roster? Sam Presti is one of the NBA’s top general managers, so keep tuned to see what he can accomplish this summer.

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