The OKC Thunder enter their second offseason of this rebuild, and it is already off to a better start than the last. That is right folks, this is only year two. I know it feels like decades since Sam Presti traded away Russell Westbrook and Paul George, but you have to remember OKC was pacing to have home-court advantage in the playoffs the very next season before the pandemic despite the preseason expectations. Then, Presti flipped Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari, and Steven Adams following the season launching OKC into an official rebuild.
This time last offseason, the fanbase hung it’s head a month before the draft staring down the barrel of the sixth overall pick in what many believed was a five-player draft. Sam Presti salvaged the situation by picking up Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick in a stunning turn of events after many begged James Bouknight to be the pick. This offseason, the Thunder gained lottery luck jumping up two slots to hold the second overall pick following the NBA Draft Lottery. Safe to say, the vibe around Bricktown is much better a year later.
OKC Thunder enter year two of their rebuild, 2022 NBA Offseason Preview
The Oklahoma City Thunder are already in a better spot than they were this time a year ago as their 2022 NBA Draft pick leaps to the second slot. Sam Presti, one of the best General Managers in the sport, owns the 2nd, 12th, 30th, and 34th selections in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The NBA Draft will take place on June 23rd, a date that the OKC Thunder might walk away with four new players on their roster. However, with so much draft capital this year and in future seasons, a move up in the draft from the 12th pick, or their two picks in the 30s is not out of the question. Especially when you factor in their roster construction currently.
As things sit right now, the Thunder have 15 players on standard NBA deals. However, that is not the nail in the coffin that it may seem. If the Thunder find four players they love in this draft, they will be more than comfortable selecting at each slot due to the ability to easily escape many players on this roster.
Here is what you need to know about the offseason
The NBA Draft is on June 23rd, and on June 29th, things heat up ahead of the July 1st Free Agency window. Derrick Favors has already opted into his 10-million dollar player option though June 29th will make that official. On that same date, the Thunder have to decide if they are going to pick up Mike Muscala‘s 3.5-million dollar player option as well as Isaiah Roby‘s 1.9-million dollar player option.
Theo Maledon was the 34th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and his lack of progression during the 2021-22 season has left his future with the team uncertain. Built into his second-round contract was non-guaranteed money which means this offseason, OKC can waive Maledon without paying the full 1.9-million dollars owed to him. However, Presti would have to make that decision fast as Maledon’s money gets guaranteed on June 30th meaning if the Thunder want to waive him and save some money, they need to do it between now and June 29th.
Lastly, as free agency opens on July 1st, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sees his max contract kick in against the OKC Thunder cap sheet which also features over 27-million dollars owed to Kemba Walker and a million dollars owed to Kyle Singler in dead money.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will also participate in two Summer League sessions this offseason, which makes sense given the number of young pieces the Thunder will need to sort through this season. The first session comes on July 5th through the 7th before the team jets off to Vegas to participate in the traditional summer league season that will last from the 7th through the 11th.