Latest update pours cold water on idea of Thunder landing popular free agent target

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Two
Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Two / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

The OKC Thunder are in need of some rotational tinkering this offseason, particularly when it relates to their size and physicality up in the frontcourt, and, for a while, a popular idea among fans and pundits was for Sam Presti and company to pursue the likes of impending free agent, Nic Claxton.

At one point, some even saw the franchise as the odds-on favorite to land the 25-year-old on the open market.

Despite the intrigue and entertainment that such an idea may have brought fans over the past few months, however, recent rumblings may have poured cold water on the possibility of a union altogether, as the New York Post's Brian Lewis noted in a June 1 report that the Brooklyn Nets might not even let their star big man become available for the taking.

Thunder target Nic Claxton could be kept from hitting open market

"It was always a foregone conclusion that Nic Claxton would become an unrestricted free agent. But it’s no sure thing he will leave Brooklyn. He might not ever even hit the open market. More and more the perception around the NBA is that Claxton is likely to re-sign with the Nets."

Brian Lewis

After putting forth yet another tremendous campaign with the Nets where he posted impressive averages of 11.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.1 blocks on 62.9 percent shooting from the floor, Claxton finds himself heading into the offseason as one of the more coveted talents in his 2024 free agency class, especially for teams who could use for big man help like the Thunder.

However, Lewis' latest report seems to have the hopes of these ball clubs signing the stud center completely dashed, as he would continue on to report that Brooklyn has a chance to end his free agency frenzy before it even begins, for the club has an "exclusive negotiating window with their center that starts the day after the NBA Finals ends."

In a way, eliminating Claxton from Oklahoma City's offseason pursuits could be viewed as a positive, for, considering his lack of jumper and the team's presumed desires to leave Chet Holmgren at the starting five, axing him from their wish-list brings more clarity to what their summer plans may be.

Still, with roughly $35 million in cap space at their disposal, in the event that the front office feels the young stud could be the answer to their frontcourt woes, Presti and co. will have an opportunity to enter a real bidding war with the Nets should Claxton wind up being open to hearing offers elsewhere.