The Oklahoma City Thunder will have high expectations in 2018-19. In 2017-18, they had their hiccups with the trio of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, but ended the year strong at 48-34. In the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs, Oklahoma City lost to the Utah Jazz in six games. That was a hard-fought series of contrasting styles. Going into this season, the Thunder no longer have Carmelo, who they traded Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a Chicago Bulls’ second-round pick for before last season.
That didn’t work out too well, as Anthony had career-lows in points per game (at 16.2 ppg) and field goal percentage (at 40.4 percent). This offseason, Thunder general manager Sam Presti retooled the roster. He traded Anthony and a 2022 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Dennis Schröder and Mike Muscala (who then went to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot), per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, then of Yahoo! Sports. From there, Anthony was then bought out and waived by Atlanta, per Wojnarowski, and he’s now on the Houston Rockets.
From there, George agreed to re-sign with the Thunder on a four-year, $136.9 million deal, per Wojnarowski. Along with that, OKC brought back Jerami Grant and Raymond Felton in free agency, and added Nerlens Noel and Abdel Nader. In the NBA Draft, OKC added Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey in the second round, and traded a 2019 second-round pick and cash to the Charlotte Hornets for Hamidou Diallo.
As far as the first X-factor for OKC, it has to be added defensive versatility in the case with Noel.
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