With basketball season over for the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team has gone into the offseason, while speculation continues over the future of the franchise.
Winning just 24 games this season does not sound all too impressive, but their roster has been filled with young up and coming players that have already shown they have the potential to grow and continue to be an asset to the team.
Shai-Gilgeous Alexander has been making a name for himself since 2018, though he endured his second consecutive season that ended early due to an ankle injury in March.
Still, after the All-Star Break amidst more losses for the team, he averaged 30 points, seven assists, six rebounds, 39-percent from three, and 54-percent from the floor.
The organization continues to build around Alexander as their backbone and signed him into a five-year $172 million maximum extension contract.
Josh Giddey on the other hand has been with the Thunder since being drafted sixth overall in the first round of the NBA draft in 2021 and is eligible for a rookie extension in another three years.
In the beginning of 2022, Giddey set the record as the first, and second-youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double at 19-years-old, though his season also ended early following a hip injury the same month as Alexander.
Former Oklahoma City Community College student Malcolm Frometa currently works for the events and entertainment department for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I started towards the end of the Paul/George era, and my one year was the COVID year so I guess this last season is the most experience I have had,” said Frometa.
“One thing I do enjoy, especially from the events department, is seeing what Thunder does for the community. And just being a kid from Oklahoma I really enjoy seeing what they do to uplift the city in general,” he added.
“But all things considered, having most of our starters be rookies, and having Shai, Giddey, and Dort out for some of the games due to injury—they played really well.”
“As far as development goes, we’re looking good for the future. It depends on what we do with the draft, but I feel like we are ahead of where we want to be.”
“Yeah, we only had 24 wins, but we’re farther ahead in the rebuild than what people might give us credit for, or what they might see. But I am really looking forward to next year and the years following,” said Frometa.
Other players such as Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort have also found their place on the team, though their potential rookie contract extensions still hang in the balance.
Dort is under a $1.9 million contract next season under a team option that will likely be picked up, however if no deal is met, Dort will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2023 offseason. As luck would have it with, Dort was also sidelined in February due to a shoulder injury, resulting in needing to undergo surgery.
Bazley too, suffered a fracture in his right knee in March, missing the remaining eight games of the season. He is under a $4.3 million contract and can be offered a qualifying offer of $6.2 million if extended, or he could start a clean slate with a new team in 2022-2023.
Deante Mitchell plays basketball at OCCC’s recreation and fitness every day.
“I wish I could have gone out to some of the games this season, but I am excited to see Shai-Gilgeous Alexander play next year!” Mitchell said.