Best Potential Free Agent Fits Available for OKC Thunder During 2013 Offseason
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After a disappointing and injury-plagued 2013 postseason which culminated in a second-round exit, the Oklahoma City Thunder will enter the summer with quite a few decisions to make.
First of all, do the Thunder consider amnestying Kendrick Perkins? According to Darnell Mayberry of Oklahoma's NewsOK, GM Sam Presti says no, but with limited cap space and holes to fill, you have to wonder if he will eventually budge from that stance.
Another issue is Kevin Martin. Will Oklahoma City choose to re-sign him, or will they instead put that cash toward something else?
OKC concluded last offseason by trading James Harden just a few days before opening night. We probably won't see anything that drastic this time around, but considering they have needs and don't have much money to work with to sign free agents, perhaps we could see another big-time deal.
Regardless, the Thunder have work to do in free agency during the coming months. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook need some help. It just won't be in the form of someone like Al Jefferson or David West.
Let's start with Martin, the Thunder's very own free-agent scorer.
While Martin certainly didn't give Oklahoma City what Harden did, he enjoyed a decent 2012-13 campaign, averaging 14 points per game off 45 percent shooting. He also hit on a career-high 42.6 percent of his three-point attempts and averaged a solid .157 win shares per 48 minutes.
The question with Martin is, do the Thunder want to pay him—or better yet, can the Thunder pay him—what other teams will be offering?
It's no secret that OKC has limited cap space. The whole reason why they dealt Harden for Martin to begin with was to avoid paying the luxury tax, and with Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Perkins (who they can always amnesty) all under contract, it's going to be difficult for Oklahoma City to make moves this summer.
Martin has an injury history, so it's no guarantee that he will even be on the floor for the majority of the contract he will likely be given.
The Thunder are obviously in a bit of a pickle here. Martin was clearly their No. 3 offensive option this past season, so he has value. You just have to wonder how much value OKC actually thinks he has.
Plus, Oklahoma City has more pressing needs than backcourt scoring, like getting some offense on the interior, for example.
If the Thunder choose not to re-sign Martin, they can always go after J.J. Redick.
Redick might actually bring more bang for his buck, as he will almost certainly be cheaper than Martin and is a couple of years younger.
Redick put up 14.1 points per game off 43.4 percent shooting this year, similar numbers to Martin. Of course, the .091 win shares he averaged per 48 minutes are a bit off-putting, but his career line of .128 is more encouraging.
Redick is someone who has a lot of experience, having played in an NBA Finals once and been through numerous grueling playoff series during his time with the Orlando Magic. For an Oklahoma City team that is trying to get over the hump and win a title, someone with Redick's postseason past could be big. His good outside shooting would also provide Durant and Westbrook with a great outlet on the perimeter.
Signing a player such as Redick over Martin could allow OKC to go out and also grab another piece off the market. Perhaps the Thunder can land J.J. with the mid-level exception.
Imagine how deadly Kyle Korver would be hanging around the three-point line receiving passes from Durant and Westbrook?
The sharpshooter drained an incredible 45.7 percent of his long-range attempts in 2012-13, posting 10.9 points per game and .137 win shares per 48 minutes in the process. You would have to assume that those numbers would only increase on a team like the Thunder.
The thing about Korver is that he is not a one-trick pony like many seem to believe. He is actually a decent defender and is also not a bad rebounder, so Korver can provide some value in areas other than just his perimeter shooting.
Of course, there will be a lot of teams interested in the 32-year-old, so there is definitely a possibility that he prices himself out of Oklahoma City's range.
He would certainly thrive in OKC's system, though; that's for sure.
The Thunder desperately need frontcourt scoring, and Andray Blatche may end up being one of the best free-agent candidates to fill that void.
Blatche's talent has never been questioned; it was his maturity that had prevented him from becoming a dependable role player in the past, and he was a good soldier throughout the 2012-13 campaign.
The 26-year-old averaged 19.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per 36 minutes this year, shooting the ball at a 51.2 percent clip.
Unlike most of the other good big men that will be on the open market, Blatche will likely be pretty affordable. He still has room to grow and improve, as well, and a winning franchise like Oklahoma City may be the perfect situation for him.
Sure, having Nick Collison off the pine is nice, but don't you want some offense?
Carl Landry has a $4 million player option for next season. If he chooses to exercise it, then he will be back with the Golden State Warriors. If not, then he will be up for grabs this summer, and if the latter is the case, then the Thunder should absolutely take a look at him.
Landry has always been perpetually underrated, owning a lifetime average of .154 win shares per 48 minutes and carrying a career shooting percentage of 53.6 percent. Nice numbers, are they not?
What Landry brings to the table is a reliable scoring option in the low post and a high basketball IQ, two things Oklahoma City could really use (especially the former).
OKC is largely a jump-shooting team that depends on its perimeter players to put the ball in the hoop. They need a guy whom they can dump the ball into to get them high-percentage shots in the paint, and Landry could fill that role.
I could certainly see Landry signing for the mid-level exception, particularly if a title contender like the Thunder offers it to him.
Landry is not only a good option for Oklahoma City, he is a fairly realistic one.