The Thunder remain on the outside looking in as far as the Western Conference playoff picture is concerned, and after losing to a dismal Knicks team on Wednesday (in a game where Kevin Durant was once again sidelined), there’s speculation on what moves the team can make to quickly turn things around.
It’s long been speculated that Oklahoma City’s offensive weapons could be much better utilized under a new head coach, but inside the organization, the commitment to Scott Brooks — from both management and the players — has, to this point, remained strong.
If the coach’s job is safe for now, then that means the focus should shift to player personnel. And after one trade brought some additional bench help in the form of Dion Waiters (at least theoretically), another may be needed to shore up the roster for a realistic run at the postseason.
Person familiar w/ OKC’s coaching situation says front office/players behind Scott Brooks. Focus on potential trades, maybe Reggie Jackson.
Jackson is going to be a restricted free agent this summer, and has been honest in publicly stating his desire to have a bigger role, while playing starter’s minutes. That’s not going to happen as long as Russell Westbrook is on the roster, and just like James Harden and Jeff Green before him, the Thunder will look to move a talented backup rather than paying him like a star to come off the bench.
As for Brooks, the best thing that could happen for the long-term prospects of the Thunder may be for them to miss the playoffs this year. The team needs a new voice, and would have almost no choice but to replace its head coach after missing the postseason, even though the time missed by Durant and Westbrook would be very real reasons for that, should it ultimately happen.
The Thunder would then have one season under new leadership (and presumably, with new assets on the roster) to prove to Durant that the team is heading in the right direction before it’s time for him to make his free agent decision. Every move is crucial right now in Oklahoma City, so if one comes along that makes sense where Jackson is concerned, expect them to make it — while hoping that’s the start of turning things around.