Stay Calm, We'll Keep Kanter

By Addam Francisco

All the free agent drama focused around Thunder center Enes Kanter should be over soon. OKC fans, just so you know, we will more than likely keep Kanter. I am aware that reports have circulated about the future of this player with our Thunder but do you really think that *Sam Presti *would let go of the potential final piece of the puzzle for a championship? In my opinion, that wouldn't be smart at all. Without Kanter, we are left with *Steven Adams, Serge Ibaka and Mitch McGary* as our primary forces down low and though they are good players, they aren’t the offensive stud that Kanter is.

OKC and Kanter have been playing cat and mouse all off-season with this new contract, and now its down to the limit and ultimately Kanter will make the final decision. There’s been many teams interested in Kanter, but the Portland Trailblazers seem to be the most interested team other than us. Portland has offered Kanter a $70 million dollar contract over four years which is a max contract. We have the opportunity to match that offer after Enes officially signs the deal, which like stated earlier, I believe they will do.

I couldn’t help but notice that there are many fans that don’t agree with us potentially spending so much money on a big man that struggles so much defensively like Kanter, but with us having two other defensive minded big men on the team, one of which is an Olympian, I’m not to worried about Kanter’s weakness. Though the defense needs a lot of improvement, I would hate for us to lose a player that basically averages just shy of 19 points and 11 rebounds per game. Especially considering his age. At just 23 years old, he has the potential to be the next big thing in the NBA if developed correctly. The growth he’s shown within the past year, just after the trade from Utah to Oklahoma City has been spectacular, so I can only imagine what another year or two could have to offer. With Kanter in the lineup, the trio of he, Russel Westbrook *and Kevin Durant *averages close to 75 points per game alone, not to mention 15 points per game from Ibaka, and eight from Adams. This team will be offensively stacked and with proper coaching and development could be an above average defensive team.

I am more than excited to see what the Western Conference has to offer this upcoming basketball season, with the re-stocking of the already elite San Antonio Spurs squad, it's going to be quite interesting to see the level of competition between teams like OKC, San Antonio, LAC, Houston, Dallas and Phoenix.

Could this be our year? Only if we learn how to play defense. We had a hard time last year with defense and this next year will be even more offensively competitive. It’s going to take an even more well-oiled defensive game plan to beat San Antonio this year. I think if we do have a chance to do so, we need the assistance of Kanter along with our other big men.