Mike Muscala embraces the small market OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder: Mike Muscala speaks to Kyle Korver #26 of the Utah Jazz. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Mike Muscala speaks to Kyle Korver #26 of the Utah Jazz. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

In recent interviews, new OKC Thunder forward Mike Muscala offered insight to why he elected to remain with the franchise despite the big trades reshaping the organization.

It’s not often an NBA player is given an option to back out of their contract shortly after agreeing to sign. But that’s precisely what happened for Mike Muscala this summer once he agreed to join the OKC Thunder.

With the trades of Paul George, Jerami Grant, and Russell Westbrook the team Muscala agreed to join during the moratorium had lost arguably their best three players. So, General Manager, Sam Presti extended the option for Muscala to back out of his agreement. Although not typical, this was a sign of good faith and in keeping with the team’s typical treatment of talent. Muscala, however, was so impressed by the recruitment by Presti he decided to stay put.

Other factors played a role such as his relationship with Dennis Schroder who the forward played with while with the Atlanta Hawks. The duo remained close even after they joined new teams to the point Muscala calls Schroder his best friend in the Association, even attending the German point guard’s wedding this summer.

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And, while the circumstances have changed for OKC Thunder, Muscala is as optimistic about the move as he was prior to the trades. Some players in the league are driven by dollars, and others by titles. But Muscala’s comments to beat writer Nick Gallo on the Thunder official website and Brett Dawson of the paid for subscription The Athletic speak to a third option which is finding a comfortable fit and team to play for.

The Bucknell University product is keen to play alongside friend Schroder again who he spent four and half seasons with on the Hawks. He enters the season excited to be a part of the new era Thunder.

Unlike many NBA players who seek out large markets, the 28 year old prefers playing for smaller markets. Perhaps it is his Minnesota roots which explain this preference, but Muscala has embraced playing in Oklahoma City.

Muscala offers three big pluses for the new era Thunder. First of all his 3-point shooting prowess (he’s a career 36.5 percent 3-ball sniper) is something the Thunder have lacked in abundance the past few seasons. Moreover, his ability to offer veteran insight will be invaluable on a team with so many youngsters.

Yet, arguably his greatest gift will be his experience playing on teams who value ball movement and sharing offensively. The lack of ball and player movement more than anything has hampered the Thunder over the past few seasons. The forward’s experience in Atlanta and the fact he embraces that type of system will pay dividends as Billy Donovan will be able to rely on Muscala helping implement more player and ball movement.

Next. Meet the newest member of the Thunder: Mike Muscala. dark

This iteration of the OKC Thunder enters the season looking to reformulate their systems with a predominantly young roster. Ultimately, Muscala’s assets and optimism will serve to benefit the team as it begins their reposition phase and attempt to rebuild into a contender.