Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

July 2, 2009

Frontcourt is No.1 need for Thunder

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — With the NBA free agency period in full swing, the Oklahoma City Thunder figure to be in the mix to add a few players.

The Thunder are one of only three teams, Detroit and Memphis are the other two, who have over $10 million in cap room to spare. Despite the large amount of cap space, it seems unlikely with the young talent already in place that the team will pursue any of the marquee free agents.

Although General Manager Sam Presti is unlikely to be negotiating with the big names like Lamar Odom, Hedo Turkoglu and Ben Gordon, he and the Thunder will be looking for depth and a veteran or two to mix in with the young nucleus of the team.

One of the main weaknesses of last year’s team was the play of the front court where players like Robert Swift and Nenad Krstic roamed the paint. Although they are solid bench players, I don’t believe they are talented enough to be starters in the NBA.

Some of the players out there who could fit the mold and are relatively inexpensive are Marcin Gortat, formerly of Orlando, Chris “Birdman” Anderson of Denver and Paul Millsap of the Jazz. Millsap is the best, and youngest, player in the group, but he will also come with the biggest price tag. With Detroit possibly out of the mix after acquiring Charlie Villanueva, the Thunder could become a realistic destination for Millsap.

Another need for the Thunder to be is the need for a veteran backup point guard to starter Russell Westbrook.

This is not as pressing of a need because of Earl Watson, 6.6 points and 5.8 assists a game last season, but the position could definitely use improvement.

Among the best suitors for the role would be Bobby Jackson and Anthony Carter.

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