The Oklahoma City Thunder had a relatively normal offseason for a rebuilding team. The only outside additions to the roster are the four rookies from the 2022 NBA draft including the No. 2 pick in Chet Holmgren.
The other three draft picks were Ousmane Dieng, Jalen Williams and Jaylin Williams.
The Thunder gave out extensions to Lu Dort and Kenrich Williams and brought back Mike Muscala.
Overall, the Thunder didn’t do anything spectacular but had a solid summer of moves made that prioritizes adding young talent and extending two solid role players for the long term on trade-friendly contracts.
Let’s take a look at what national media pundits are saying about the offseason for the Thunder and what grades they’ve received for their summer.
(Full credit to The Rockets Wire for collecting the articles. For the Houston Rockets version of this, click here.)
ESPN, Kevin Pelton:
“As usual, the bulk of the Thunder’s additions came through the draft, where the team made three of the first 12 picks after parlaying three future first-rounders into the No. 11 selection (Ousmane Dieng) from the Knicks. No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren joins Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Oklahoma City’s core.
We probably also have to put Lu Dort in that category after the Thunder declined his team option in order to re-sign him to a five-year, $87.5 million deal, betting on his development and a rising cap.
Before Gilgeous-Alexander’s extension kicked in, Oklahoma City leveraged leftover cap space to take on JaMychal Green from Denver and add a future first-rounder in exchange for this year’s 30th pick, later buying out Green. And the Thunder also extended Kenrich Williams for four years and $27 million, another deal that could age well as the cap rises.”
The Athletic, Andrew Schlecht:
“This was draft No. 2 for the Thunder in their rebuild, and they walked away with three lottery picks in Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams and Ousmane Dieng. This is a big addition to an already crowded roster of developing young players. Holmgren will undoubtedly start from Day 1, and Jalen Williams will make an impact from the bench. They drafted their second Williams (Jaylin) at No. 34 in hopes that he can serve as a bench big who takes a lot of charges, a la Nick Collison.
The Thunder also handed out two contracts to a couple of tenacious, beefy role players in Luguentz Dort and Kenrich Williams. Both players have fascinating stories from undrafted to generational money and will both serve as tone-setters for the Thunder on the defensive end. They also re-signed Mike Muscala to be one of the adults in the room.
But let’s not get it twisted: This offseason is all about Holmgren. That’s why they get an A. The Thunder process will still be a slow one, but Holmgren serves as a glimmer of hope for a Thunder fan base that longs for the playoffs again.”
Bleacher Report, Grant Hughes:
“Oklahoma City left the draft with three top-12 picks, headlined by Holmgren. The range of outcomes on the rail-thin Gonzaga big man is wide; he’s basically the first player drafted with his frame and diverse skill set. This is almost certainly not a Shawn Bradley or Bol Bol situation. Holmgren has legitimate ball-handling and shooting gifts to go with the rim protection you’d expect from a 7-footer, and he plays with a mean streak that offsets his lack of heft from him.
The Thunder filled out their rookie class by trading for Dieng, a high-ceilinged project who can handle and pass at 6’10”, and Santa Clara’s Williams, who rose up draft boards due to his ideal wing size and well-rounded offensive game .
All three selections have tremendous potential, with Holmgren the best bet to make an All-Star team or two at some point in the next half-decade.
Otherwise, this was the summer of Dort in OKC. The Thunder re-upped with their linebacker/shooting guard on a five-year deal worth $87.5 million. That’s a lot of scratch for a player who’s shot 39.5 percent from the field for his career, but Dort is a lockdown on-ball defender whose 84.3 percent free-throw shooting in 2021-22 suggests an uptick in accuracy from the field could be on the way.
At worst, the Thunder locked up a young, defense-first wing who’d immediately appeal to any playoff team if he ever hit the trade market. There isn’t much downside here, even if the price tag feels a touch high.”
For The Win, Bryan Kalbrosky:
“I’m head-over-heels about Oklahoma City’s offseason. They now have three guys who could be All-Stars with Chet Holmgren now in the mix alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.
This is a team with extraordinary length and ball-handling ability, and while they’re incredibly talented, they’re not ready to contend quite yet. That means they could add yet another top prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft.”
CBS Sports, Colin Ward-Henninger:
“OKC is quickly developing into a League Pass favorite — quite a feat for a team that likely has no aspirations of winning next season. Holmgren could be the best player in the draft and has already showcased a diverse and unique set of skills. The Thunder traded up for No. 11 to get Dieng, who may be slightly further away but has alluring potential, and the Williamses should both be ready to contribute immediately. As usual, OKC’s offseason can’t truly be judged for several years, but on paper they picked up a lot of young talent to put around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey.”