OKC Thunder – Speculating on the future of Donovan, George and Anthony

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Paul George
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - APRIL 21: Paul George /

The past three years in Oklahoma City has been nothing short of a whirlwind. With the OKC Thunder down 2-1 in the first round against Utah, the franchise is yet again at another turning point.

Things haven’t exactly gone according to plan for the OKC Thunder this season. So it’s only fitting that knocking off a lower seeded team in round one of the playoffs feels like pulling teeth.

Should things continue to head south and the OKC Thunder get bounced by the Jazz in round one, it’s hard to see Billy Donovan coming back to coach next season. Yes, he’s still growing as a coach at the NBA level. And no, he didn’t have the best bench to work with. However, it’s inexcusable to lose in the first round after nearly missing the playoffs altogether given the caliber of the starting five.

Assistant coaches Maurice Cheeks or Monty Williams could slide up, as they both have head coaching experience in the league. As for potential candidates from outside the organization it’s hard to speculate on at this time.

George’s future:

The next domino to fall could be the departure of Paul George. He does have a player option to exercise that’s worth $20,703,384 if he wants to put his decision off another year. But, the idea of him staying if the Thunder lose to Utah seems far fetched.

His personal decision of where to play next has a lot of variables in play. The Los Angeles Lakers appear to be the front runners, but they have some pieces to move around before taking him on or making a run at LeBron James.

The leverage Sam Presti has is that the group doesn’t have to go through a learning curve again. Plus, they will be much better suited to make a push for a championship if Andre Roberson stays healthy and a little work is done on draft night or in free agency.

At the end of the day, it’s hard to know exactly what he is thinking or how he feels. Based on what George said to the media, he’s enjoyed playing in Oklahoma City.

Other dominoes could fall:

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As far as Carmelo Anthony goes, he’s likely staying another season. Anthony is in line to receive $27,928,140 if he wants it. He also has the option to exercise his early termination option. Since Anthony is 33 years old and hasn’t exactly had the best season, he probably won’t exercise the option.

There is the potential he could forfeit the short term payday for a longer term contract, bu they are slim.

At the same time, Anthony doesn’t seem to be one willing to retire without a ring. So, if George leaves and a contending team offers Anthony a roster spot, he might make the sacrifice.

The rest should just fall into place without much drama. It should just be a matter of bringing back Jerami Grant and making decisions on Raymond Felton, Josh Huestis and Corey Brewer. Of course, Nick Collison could come back for another season as well. If not as a player than potentially as an assistant coach.

Next: Round 1 complete series hub article compilation

Those decisions will be made when the time comes, but for now, all eyes are on winning the next game. Ultimately the odds of the OK3 returning increase with each round they win.