The Oklahoma City Thunder is a professional National Basketball Association (NBA) basketball team. It’s based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
It’s also a member of the Western Conference under the Northwest Division. The team’s current home court is Paycom Center.
The team was initially located in Seattle, Washington. During the 1967-68 season, the Seattle SuperSonics joined the NBA as an expansion team. During their time as the SuperSonics, they participated in the NBA playoffs 22 times, won three division titles, played three NBA Finals, and won the 1979 NBA Championship.
On July 3, 2008, that team ownership led by Clay Bennett and the Seattle lawmakers settled. This officially signed off the team’s transfer from Seattle to Oklahoma City.
Since its transfer, they reached consecutive playoff berths and an NBA Finals appearance in the 2011-12 season. However, the team is currently rebuilding after its core stars were traded off or signed with different teams.
In this upcoming 2023-24 season, the Oklahoma City Thunder is looking to improve its current fate. The different transaction they conducted during the offseason and the upcoming basketball schedule is indicated below.
During the 2023 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder had three draft picks – one first-round pick and two-round picks. They used their first-round pick to select Dereck Lively II. The center was immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the tenth draft pick, Cason Wallace, and Davis Bertans.
During his time in the Kentucky Wildcats team, Cason Wallace averaged 11.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 2.0 steals. He was recognized as one of the SEC All-Freshman Team with his stats. His addition to the team improves the Oklahoma City Thunder championship odds due to his elite defense.
The Oklahoma City Thunder then picked Hunter Tyson with the 37th pick, but he was traded away for the Denver Nuggets future-protected 2029 first-round pick. The team’s 50 pick was turned into Kenyontae Johnson of Kansas State. Pundits have described him as a decent two-way player. However, his recent medical emergencies due to heart inflammation are of great concern.
The Oklahoma City Thunder started the free agency with a few players with expiring contracts. Five players – Jared Butler, Dario Saric, Olivier Sarr, and Lindy Waters III left the team to sign with a different one. Rudy Gay, a veteran, and former all-star, was waived by the team.
Their significant move of the team during the free agency was signing Vasilije Micic to a three-year $23.5 million contract with a team option in the third year. Micic is one of EuroLeague’s top players, winning back-to-back EuroLeague titles and EuroLeague MVP.
On July 6, the Oklahoma City Thunder acquired former all-star Victor Oladipo, two second-round picks, and cash considerations from the Miami Heat. The team absorbed Oladipo’s $9.5 million expiring contract with this transaction.
The team also acquired Patty Mills from the Houston Rockets as part of a more extensive five-team trade, but he was immediately traded away to the Atlanta Hawks. The Oklahoma City Thunder, in exchange, received Usman Garuba, Rudy Gay, and TyTy Washington Jr.
Oklahoma City Thunder executive Michael Wagner left the team to be President of the Washington Wizards. Will Dawkins was also hired as the Wizards’ new general manager. With these transactions, Rob Hennigan remains the only vice president of basketball operations under general manager Sam Presti.
The team also agreed to a multi-year contract extension for Mark Daigneault. He was hired to lead the team during the start of the 2020-21 season. Last season, the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 16-win improvement. They qualified for the play-in but were a game short of the playoff. With this performance, Mark Daigneault finished second for the 2023 NBA Coach of the Year.
The Oklahoma City Thunder attended both the Salt Lake City and. Las Vegas Summer Leagues. Unfortunately, Cason Wallace could not participate in the former due to his trade. Still, the team’s young players showed great potential and an appetite for excellence.
For the upcoming 2023-24 season, the roster of the Oklahoma City Thunder is essentially the same. It’s currently being led by all-star and all-NBA Shai Alexander-Gilgeous. He is now the new face of the team until 2026-2027. Other solid players like Davis Bertans and Luguentz Dort are committed to the team through the 2024-25 and 2026-27 seasons respectively.
In conclusion, the championship odds of the Oklahoma City Thunder next season remain uncertain. With a young and talented roster, the Thunder have the potential to surprise and exceed expectations. However, they face tough competition in a stacked Western Conference.
The continued development of their young players and the integration of new acquisitions will be critical factors in determining their success. While the Oklahoma City Thunder may not be considered favorites for the championship, they have the potential to make significant strides and compete at a high level this upcoming 2023-24 season.