Thunder Rolling Toward Training Camp
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
With less than two weeks to go before training camp starts Thunder players are back in Oklahoma City and holding voluntary workouts at the INTEGRIS Thunder Development Center.
This week several players will also be out in the community with the Rolling Thunder Book Bus and soon Thunder fit clinics will start up around the Oklahoma City area.
Training camp will likely be more interesting this season than in the past with new players coming in to take over critical roles and familiar faces gone to different places.
Head coach Billy Donovan, who spent his summer meeting with players around the country and watching workouts, will soon be able to get down the business of figuring out starting lineups and rotations.
He has two starting spots that are open with the departures of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. Newcomer Ersan Ilyasova is the most likely replacement for Ibaka at power forward though Enes Kanter and rookie Domantas Sabonis will get looks too.
The shooting guard spot could remain in the hands of Andre Roberson or, as many think, Victor Oladipo who came with Ilyasova and Sabonis from Orlando in the Ibaka trade, could take over.
Small forward provides perhaps the most mystery. At the moment only Kyle Singler and Josh Huestis are listed at the position on the Thunder roster. It’s doubtful either one would be starting there on Opening Night.
As you know the Thunder have a glut of big men and one too many guaranteed contracts on the roster. OKC has 16 players with guaranteed contracts but the NBA only allows teams to carry 15 when the regular season starts.
So someone will be leaving and maybe more than one especially if general manager Sam Presti tries to bring in an established scoring wing for that small forward spot.
Speculation continues to be that at least Mitch McGary, who will begin the season with a 5-game suspension, is on the way out. There’s of course also been talk that Kanter is available for the right price and perhaps others.
And certainly if the Thunder are trying to acquire a quality small forward Kanter would probably be one of the trade chips involved because of his salary and his value.
Throw all those questions and possibilities and uncertainties into the mix and that should make for a fascinating training camp.