Pressing Pause

We'll tell you how pushing back the start date of next season to 2021 will affect the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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During his teleconference a couple of weeks ago, Sam Presti said without having any information on when the season would start, the Thunder were going to take a "step back" and not rush to hire Billy Donovan's replacement. You wouldn't expect anything less from an organization that has been methodical in how they go about doing business. 

Tuesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Bob Costas that the 2020-2021 season wouldn't get underway until January. "The earliest we would start is Christmas of this year." 

But as Informationation on COVID-19 becomes available, he said the association would "be better off getting into January."  Silver, along with the owners, intends to play a full 82-game schedule in front of fans.  

"But there's still a lot that we need to learn in terms of rapid testing, for example."...  "Would that be a means of getting fans into our buildings?"... "Will there be other protections?"

What all this means for the Oklahoma City Thunder is they can take their time in making decisions that will affect the future. The draft is still more than a month away with November 18th, being the date that teams will select new players. 

 Free agency will start sometime after the draft, and according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, teams will get an eight-week notice before opening night. Presti and company now have a timetable as far as when they can start making moves. 

If there is a coaching candidate in the bubble, there is no hurry to see if they are interested in the job. The Thunder can allow them to finish their season and start the interview process once they return home. 

Meanwhile, you keep in close contact with agents to see who might be willing to come to Oklahoma City and have those discussions. But there is no reason to rush into anything.  

Theoretically, you could get your roster set before making a hire; that way, whoever takes the gig will know who they have work with for the upcoming season. The January start date also buys you time to take Chris Paul's temperature to see if he wants to come back or if there is a trading partner that needs to be found. 

Presti doesn't operate without having all possible information at his disposal. And with there still being some significant issues up in the air, the Thunder will act accordingly. 

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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past seven seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.