Kevin Durant may have been grabbing all of the headlines lately due to his imminent free agency, but his current side, the Oklahoma City Thunder, have been working behind the scenes to ensure they are still a force to be reckoned with whatever the 27-year-old decides.
The Thunder pulled the trigger on a move for Victor Oladipo last week from the Orlando Magic which sent long-serving Serge Ibaka in the other direction amongst other assets.
Forming an explosive backcourt of Oladipo and Russell Westbrook is an extremely exciting prospect, but there is obviously a hole at the power forward position that OKC must address.
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One would assume that Enes Kanter could be moved to the four spot with Steve Adams occupying the pivot, but it appears as though the Thunder front office has other ideas heading into free agency.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Western Conference semi-finalists are trying to fill their roster with championship-calibre talents in the hope that Kevin Durant will believe they can make another run at the NBA Finals next season. The report reads:
"As they prepare to make their pitch to Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been making calls around the league looking to clear a massive amount of salary-cap space in a move rival executives believe is an effort to go after free agent Al Horford in addition to Durant, multiple sources told ESPN."
It appears as though Kanter would be a casualty of any such move and OKC are very serious about clearing the required cap space in order to make a run at Horford and keep Durant possible.
"Over the past several days, the Thunder have sought out teams with open salary-cap space to possibly absorb Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler, sources said. The Thunder have other methods of opening cap space, including waiving Anthony Morrow, whose contract isn't guaranteed until July 15.
"In conversations with rival teams, the Thunder have indicated they will know which route they are taking early in July, sources said. Durant is scheduled to meet with five teams over the first three days of free agency after meeting with the Thunder on Thursday."
A starting five of Westbrook, Oladipo; Durant, Horford and Adams has massive potential, should it come to fruition. There's a delicious balance of athleticism, inside presence, defence and floor spacing to ensure they could contend with just about any unit in the league.
Of course, this basically all hangs on what Durant will decide, but, multiple reports indicate he is interested in remaining in Oklahoma for one more year before the salary cap spikes once again and Westbrook also enters free agency.
Would that starting five make the Thunder a serious contender next season?