OKC Thunder In the News: the offseason begins

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 25: Russell Westbrook /

With the OKC Thunder assembling this weekend to deliver exit interviews and pack up their lockers clearly the mood is naturally somber.

There will be ample time for reflection in the coming days, but it’s impossible not to carry a heavy heart this weekend. Game 6 may haunt a few players for some time, particularly the end of the game.  During that pivotal one minute and 15 seconds of insanity OKC had with six opportunities to erase a one point deficit and push the series to seven games. This was not not how the OKC Thunder  envisioned their season ending.

On top of being eliminated there are other burdens to bear. Russell Westbrook was confronted by fans on two separate occasions. Westbrook wasn’t about to just slough it off explaining there were fans who yelled about his family and other personal slights.

Adding insult to elimination:

This is a bigger issue for the league to deal with. But, it does seem inappropriate the fans appeared to remain seated after the confrontations. Moreover, with the first incident occurring at half time the obvious question needs to be asked. Why wasn’t there a larger security detail on the court at game end to avoid a repeat?

For more on the situation check out the full story.

"To say Russell Westbrook left everything he had on the court in the first round series versus the Utah Jazz would be an understatement. Surely there are drops of perspiration, sneaker marks and perhaps even a small piece of the Brodie’s heart on Vivint and Chesapeake arenas.There wasn’t much more Westbrook could offer having delivered 91 points, 25 rebounds, 12 assists and two steals over the last two games. With so much at stake is it fair then that the players are dealing with overzealous fans?"

Exit Interviews:

Over the coming days TI will offer up the top line comments made by the players, coach and management. We’ll also feature out thoughts on these comments and what they mean moving forward.

The first and most intriguing of this series comes via Alex Mcewen focusing on Carmelo Anthony. Melo’s comments had tongues wagging since his comments has definitely ruled out a bench role or a catch and shoot role next season. Talk about hamstringing an organization. With close to $28M on the books next season should Melo opt in this could prove to be disastrous. Cross your fingers this is just day after elimination comments and Melo rethinks his stance.

"Carmelo’s answer here is not at all surprising given his stance on coming off the bench has been consistent since media day. That said he put his coaches in an unfair position because he is trying to force their hand.Yet at the same time, we always clamor for honesty from professional athletes and Melo has shown he has no filter and is unafraid to speak his mind. For that, he deserves a tip of the cap."

As Alex says everyone will have their own take on Melo’s comments. Personally, I’m not amused the brain trust enters the summer with the knowledge Melo has definitively stated he will NOT continue to play the role of catch and shoot nor will he come off the bench. That means if he opts in he expects to start and play the way HE prefers.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is not the Carmelo Anthony’s, it’s the OKC Thunder. So, either Melo does what he asked to do or he can sit on the pine. If my reaction seems too strong, I apologize, but if Melo is allowed to TELL the team this is how I’m going to fit it and they acquiesce then OKC is doomed before they start next season. The worst part of this equation (which again, we’ll dive into later) is Melo holds all the cards. It’s up to him whether he opts in or out. Moreover, if he elects to opt in he also retains the right to accept or decline any trade.

Cross your fingers his buddies LeBron or Chris Paul talk him into opting out so OKC can clear that $28M off next season’s salary.


Big moves in the offseason were expected to produce big results. Yet, the team finish in almost precisely the same position.

What if I told you one year ago Sam Presti was going to add Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton. How about if I further clarified none of those players would miss significant court time due to injury.

Odds are the Paul George addition alone would still result in an optimism for a solid campaign.  Yet, one year later the OKC Thunder finished the season with a one additional regular season and one postseason victory.

Perhaps the heart of the changes was too much focus on who was jettisoning in instead of what was lost. What is certain, is the unlikelihood the same moves would be replicated knowing now what we didn’t know then.


Offseason work starts:

More from Thunderous Intentions

Although the postseason experience is over, new challenges are afoot. The players do know Thunder Nation is behind them through thick and thin. In the above video the players arrived back from Utah with fans waiting to greet them.

It’s rare to be part of a franchise who are so invested in their team and no doubt this reception touched the players hearts. In truth, I teared up a bit when viewing it. Granted, I was still fresh off the loss and lacking sleep. Still, it is among the more touching moments of the season.

We trudge ahead now into the offseason and wait with baited breath to hear from the brain trust on next step plans.

Thunderous Intentions are like the rest of the fanbase, sad about the early exit. We’ve take the weekend to come to terms with the loss and we’ll begin the process this week of reviewing the year. More importantly we’ll jump into our GM armchairs and look at how the team can grow and improve for 2018-19.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.