Internal development is a key to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s success, which is why having a G League affiliate so close to home is important. Last season, the OKC Blue actually shared an arena with the Thunder at Paycom Center.
This made them one of three franchises that shared arenas at both levels.
On a regular basis, this allowed the Thunder to send players back-and-forth between the NBA and G League to maximize playing time. Additionally, prospects would even suit up for both the Thunder and the Blue in the same day.
With that in mind, it was unclear whether this synergy could continue moving forward as there was doubt that the Blue could once again leverage Paycom Center.
“We have a challenge on our hands because the NBA or the G League doesn’t want (the Blue) playing in our arena next year,” said Thunder GM Sam Presti at the close of the recent Thunder season. “Conversation probably not for the public, but it is an NBA arena, so it should be good enough for the G League.”
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As first reported by Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman on Tuesday, the Blue will once again play at Paycom Center in the 2022-23 season.
This is huge for the Thunder, especially considering how many young prospects they’ll send back and forth this season. It wouldn’t be shocking to see guys like Jaylin Williams and Ousmane Dieng play many games for both the Thunder and Blue this season.
It should be another efficient season for developing young players in Oklahoma City.