3 underrated free agents Thunder must pursue this summer

Mar 12, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) and Oklahoma
Mar 12, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Jalen Smith (25) and Oklahoma / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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This past season, the OKC Thunder finished with the top seed in the Western Conference standings and managed to win their first playoff series for the first time in nearly a decade.

That said, even with these impressive accomplishments, if their second-round elimination against the Dallas Mavericks taught us anything, it's that this team still needs a bit more fine-tuning before they can confidently be viewed as a top-tier title threat.

Already in possession of enviable star power with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the charge, as well as an influx of young budding studs in Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren supporting him, Oklahoma City seems to be set for consistent success for the foreseeable future.

Of course, to finally get over the hump and put themselves in a position to get back to the championship round, flushing out the rest of the rotation around these core players and addressing any and all weaknesses within Mark Daigneault's roster is required.

Fortunately for them, this offseason will provide the Thunder with the opportunity to do exactly this, and, with a projected $33 million in wiggle room to work with, they could realistically turn to the free agency market to snatch up some valuable new talents.

Underrated free agents Thunder should strongly consider pursuing

Though the bulk of attention on this summer's class is being geared toward the star players like James Harden, Paul George (player option), and LeBron James (player option) that will/ could hit the open market, lost in their shadow are a slew of individuals who, in the right situation, could prove to be true assets to a title contender.

For a few players, that right situation could prove to be Oklahoma City, and there are three underrated names, in particular, that should be on Sam Presti's watch list.

3. Luke Kornet

Heading into this year's playoff run, many had publicly pointed out OKC's lack of size and physicality as a major detractor to their championship odds, and the way role players like Daniel Gafford, Dereck Lively II, and PJ Washington manhandled them during their semifinal matchup against the Mavericks only added more strength to such sentiment.

This summer, one of the primary objectives for for the Thunder should be to address their limited competent options in the vertical department, and Celtics center Luke Kornet could be an under-the-radar option well worth considering.

Measuring in at 7-foot-2, 250-pounds, the seventh-year veteran boasts the body type that's severely lacking within coach Daigneault's frontcourt rotation while his particular skill-set is something that could seamlessly fit right into the club's scheme.

Despite averaging just 15.7 minutes per game, the 28-year-old put forth an incredibly efficient season where he registered a +1.8 defensive box plus-minus rating, a career-high 3.4 box plus-minus rating, a 12.1 net rating, a 121.8 offensive rating, and a 109.7 defensive rating all while averaging 16.8 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per 100 possessions on 70 percent shooting.

On top of this, he's also a willing floor spacer (32.3 percent shooter from deep for his career), which would allow the Thunder to continue running five-out sets with him either filling in at the pivot or, should they wish to roll out two big sets, when playing the four next to Chet Holmgren.

From his frame to his two-way dependability, assuming he could be had at a relatively low rate on the open market, Luke Kornet may be one of the best cost-efficient options the Thunder could pursue this summer.