If you’re not improving, you’re losing. I heard that growing up, and in the context of the NBA offseason, it fits perfectly… especially if a team is coming off a deep playoff run. For some, and OKC could easily fall into this trap, maintaining the status quo is important. It seems logical, too. You win a few rounds in the playoffs, maybe a conference title, so you should bring everyone back without a second thought. There’s still youth on your side. They have to get better, right?
But we pointed out a few weeks back why we thought the Heat had such an awesome summer. They didn’t stand pat like they did after their 2006 NBA title (when the team came back still in a championship hangover and got smashed by a gazillion points in their home opener against Chicago). Everyone must evolve. The Heat know that, and hopefully, the Thunder are learning as well.
They’re already having a busy summer, recently locking up Serge Ibaka for $48 million over a four-year extension. The road gets trickier from here. Sam Presti must test his genius to keep James Harden around as well.
Plus, there’s another interesting report coming from Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio: OKC is very interested in getting their hands on Jimmer Fredette (the guy who went from a one-name celebrity to a forgotten man on one of the worst teams in the league in less than 12 months). He writes: “Fredette would love to go someplace where someone other than just DeMarcus Cousins will pass him the ball. Thunder would love to pry Fredette away from Kings as replacement for Derek Fisher. Kevin Durant is a Jimmer fan.”
There are a few things we learn from this. One, no one on Sacramento’s roster seems to think much of Fredette’s shooting ability outside of DMC. And two, the former BYU star will get a ton of open looks playing with Durant.
We haven’t heard anything on Fisher coming back to the Thunder. He’s also 38 years old. He might not come back to the NBA at all. Then there’s Eric Maynor. He missed most of last season with a torn ACL, and now he’s returning as a backup point guard who wants an extension. He’s also a backup guard with limited range (only averages .4 triple makes a game for his career), and as the playmaking abilities of Durant and Russell Westbrook improve, having a knockdown shooter opposite of them is key.
While Fredette and Maynor have nearly identical salaries for this upcoming season (Fredette: $2.339 million, Maynor: $2.338 million), Maynor’s rookie deal runs out quicker (meaning he will get paid sooner).
Whatever happens, Fredette doesn’t appear to be in Sacramento’s plans, especially after they added Aaron Brooks this summer, another tiny guard who does many of the same things. Where is Fredette going to play? He can’t play the two with Isaiah Thomas or Brooks at the one. Too small. And as a point guard, he’s just No. 3 on the depth chart.
Fredette averaged 7.6 points and shot under 39 percent in less than 19 minutes a game during his rookie year with the Kings. If he’s going to make it, his playing time and opportunities probably need to change, and he may not get that in Sacramento.
Could Jimmer be a big factor in OKC?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.