In the three months plus the NBA has been on hiatus, one thing remains the same for the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Stay competitive or rebuild?"
It's a question that could be answered in the eight-game schedule they will play when the NBA returns to action in late July. The Thunder are currently 5th in the Western Conference standings but could finish anywhere from third to seventh when the season ends.
That finish could decide if Sam Presti goes into full rebuild mode or chooses by keeping Chirs Paul and Danilo Gallinari. Danny Leroux of The Athletic says, "The Thunder has to figure out whether they want to retain veterans like Chris Paul and pending free agent Danilo Gallinari to stay competitive in the present or start a full-fledged rebuild around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or some middle road between the two."
"Sam Presti will consider a variety of factors, but their performance in the seeding games and playoffs has to impact his judgment." There is a flaw in that logic.
Presti has no idea how the layoff is going to affect the Thunder or any of the other teams in the Western Conference. Chances are Presti already knows how he is leaning when it comes to Oklahoma City's future; he also has to consider how the salary cap will shrink in the next few weeks.
"Certainly like any team, or most teams, we've got to be resourceful and figure out ways to work within the parameters that we have."..."I wish I could be more specific."... "I would just tell you like for sure it's going to affect us like it's going to affect any other business. But the extent, I think, is somewhat unknown because there's still a lot to be determined relative to the following season."
To simply make a decision based on what you see in the next few weeks goes against Presti's philosophy of looking at the season as a whole. What the Thunder chose to do will be based on offers they get for Paul or any other player on Oklahoma City's roster.
And rest assured if more left in the tank Presti will figure out a way by using draft capital or other means to put enough around these guys for continued success.