Western Conference early free agency moves put OKC Thunder on high alert

OKC Thunder Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook and Paul George. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Steven Adams, Russell Westbrook and Paul George. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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NBA Free Agency, OKC Thunder
NBA Free Agency, OKC Thunder, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder were put on high alert in the opening days of NBA Free Agency via the moves made by their Western Conference counterparts.

NBA Free Agency got off to a crazy start, even more so than in usual years. With almost half the league being free agents, NBA fans expected nothing less. As the clock struck 6 p.m. on Monday, we have survived the first 24 hours of NBA Free Agency, and are about ready to nestle up with some NBA Summer League action for the rest of the night. However, one issue is the fact seemingly the entire Western Conference has improved, while the OKC Thunder have remained stagnant.

How did you intake the first 24 wild hours of free agency? I decided to set up shop at my desk, my second monitor displaying tweet deck with so many NBA reporters and insider tabs open I almost went cross-eyed a few times trying to keep up with all the news. All the while, I was scribbling down handwritten notes…old school style. Despite the most effective way of doing it in 2019, with an excel spreadsheet or a word document, I was a feather and ink away from being a founding father of free agent blogging.

As I jot down my notes on my legal pad, I color coded the sheet. With each bullet point, each line of the legal pad being assigned a colored highlighter. A blue highlight stroke meant it was directly related to the OKC Thunder. A signing, a supposed interest in a player, or a possible move that could lead to a trade.

The pink highlighter is the most concerning, and trust me, it got a lot of use. The pink color reflected the moves that should put the OKC Thunder organization and fanbase on “high alert.” That simply means the move makes another competing team better and puts the Thunder at risk of possibly missing the playoffs. With the Western Conference already in a dog fight, the teams getting a stroke of pink spells trouble for the boys in blue.

Yellow marks are just moves to monitor. Nothing earth-shattering, but something that the OKC Thunder fanbase and the team should keep an eye on.

The OKC Thunder still have a strong team. Led by Paul George and Rusell Westbrook and it might sound crazy that the team could miss the playoffs. Yet, the idea is not exactly crazy.

Depending on when the NBA season starts, Paul George might need a little more time to recover. Remember at the start of this year when Russell Westbrook missed some time? Add in the fact that for the last few seasons, the OKC Thunder have struggled to put away and beat teams they are clearly better than.

Those slip-ups cannot happen this year, the Thunder simply can not afford it. The Western Conference will be too good, and too competitive. If the Thunder continue that trend, they will be in serious danger of missing the playoffs.

The good news for Thunder fans is that the team historically plays well in the regular season with their backs against the wall. I do not think the Thunder will miss out on postseason play, but these moves…worry me.