The Thunder could be looking to move at least one key rotation piece.
Oklahoma City has “increased its efforts” to reduce salary by attaching a contract to the No. 21 pick in Thursday’s draft, according to a report from Sports Illustrated, which cites unidentified league sources.
Thunder center Steven Adams, wing Andre Roberson and guard Dennis Schroder are “very available” in potential deals, the report says.
Oklahoma City has increased its efforts this afternoon to shed salary along with the No. 21 pick en route to dodging luxury tax, league sources say. Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Dennis Schroeder all very available at the moment.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 19, 2019
Adams is the biggest name involved in the reported talks. He averaged 13.9 points and 9.5 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game in 2018-19. The 7-0 big man has two seasons remaining on his four-year, $100 million extension.
Schroder is a valuable backup point guard who the Thunder acquired from the Hawks last July while Roberson — a lockdown defender — missed all of 2018-19 because of multiple knee injuries.
“Everybody has to get better,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in late April (via USA Today’s Thunder Wire). “It’s really a group effort. I have to do my part. I have to look at, ‘How good is this team? What’s the capability of the team? What’s the path forward for the team? What are we going to do to improve the existing group? What can we do externally to work from there?’
“Our greatest path for improvement is going to be the improvement of our core group.”
The Thunder finished last season with a 49-33 record and lost to the Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.
“I don’t think you can discount the fact that we (were not competitive) in the playoffs,” Presti said after the season (via ESPN). “There’s no getting around that. But I think anyone objective and anybody that is more than a momentary problem solver would probably take a step back and look at the whole thing.”
Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George both underwent offseason surgery. Presti told reporters in late April he “expects” coach Billy Donovan to return in 2019-20.