I’m going to start off giving some Thunder thoughts. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s season ended on Memorial Day, and OKC’s run through the Western Conference Playoffs was quite memorable. Plus, as the post-season begins, everybody is curious to see what Kevin Durant will do as an unrestricted free agent in deciding whether or not he stays with the Thunder or signs with another team.
Fear not, though. I will cover other topics too. Here we go!
- Playoff performance provides promising next season preview
There’s already talk about how Golden State will not be challenged against Cleveland in the NBA Finals like they were against the Thunder. I’ll get to the Thunder’s perspective of the NBA Finals in a topic below, but this is a positive aspect to consider for next season.
Of all the playoff games the Thunder played, Game 1 in the Golden State series was my favorite. It was close, competitive and unexpected by many to see OKC come away from Oracle Arena with that win. But there were other great performances too. Yes, it’s hard to dwell on the positives from the playoffs because the Thunder disappointed in the final games, but there’s a lot to take from how they battled both San Antonio and Golden State into next season.
Stephen Adams, Andre Roberson and Dion Waiters had some great moments. All three stepped up their respective games. And Coach Billy Donavon demonstrated he is a capable leader on the sidelines. And there are other personnel – Enes Kanter, Cameron Payne, and Randy Foye – who were reliable. Kanter especially had a great season overall for the Thunder.
Looking into next season, I don’t expect much change on the roster. Four possible expendable players could be Foye, Mitch McGary, Nazr Mohammed and Kyle Singler. Both Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka finish off the last seasons of their current contracts, and barring injuries, I expect both of them to be hungry, determined, focused and potentially playing at the best level of their careers.
The one key character for how next season shapes up is also the heart of the organization. Whether or not Kevin Durant returns will be a major factor for next season
- Determining Durant’s decision
I believe Kevin when he says he does not know for sure whether or not he will resign with the Thunder. It’s been an easy ride for him so far in his NBA career. Now he is about to begin his 10th season, and he has yet to win an NBA title. That is all he lacks in his list of accomplishments.
Money is not an issue for KD. That will not be part of the equation because he will do well regardless of his decision. OKC has the advantage over other teams because of NBA contractual rules. They can match any other team’s offer and not have it go against the team’s salary cap. It seems to come down to whether or not he thinks he can win a title with the Thunder or if he thinks his chances will be greater with another team.
There may be other factors that he, his agent, his manager and his family are considering too. As far as where to live, he can have residence wherever he would like. His mom already lives in Maryland. It has been reported he spends much of the offseason in L.A.
Other factors may include who KD wants as teammates. He knows Russ and Serge will have to make similar decisions after next season. Do these longtime colleagues determine how Durant’s next contract will shape up? Or does he think about other players who could help him win a title?
The most popular scenario would be that Durant will sign a short-term contract with the Thunder. Some think it will only be a one-year deal. I believe Thunder G.M. Sam Presti will do his best to convince Durant to sign for longer, at least a two-year contract.
Durant will see what else is out there. He is entitled to do so. But it is hard to imagine he can find something better than what he has here in OKC. It is hard to build a situation he has with the Thunder. This is something that happened with him at the helm for nine years, and for him to leave the Thunder at this position, coming so close and capable of winning it all next year, is hard for outsiders to believe he would consider.
But this is Kevin’s decision, and by July 1, everybody will know.
- Watching NBA Finals through Thunder vision
Golden State won the opening matchup against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. I realize, emotionally, it could be difficult for Thunder fans to root for Golden State in this series. There are some Warrior players who have made the “dislike” list, especially Draymond Green, for OKC fans.
As hard as it may be, though, to favor the Warriors, I think it is best for the Thunder for Golden State to repeat as NBA champs, especially if they beat Cleveland with more ease. Everybody in Thunder land knows the team came close to advancing to the Finals, if it weren’t for a meltdown in the final minutes of Game Six. They had the Warriors by the throat, but they let Steph Curry and his crew slip away.
If Golden State were to win, especially in five games or fewer, this feeds the Thunder’s motivation for next season. And it could be an extra incentive for Durant to resign.
- Gorilla grief
I didn’t want to write about the Cincinnati Zoo incident from last week that resulted in the killing a silverback gorilla. I am an animal lover and was sad to hear about this tragedy.
What is not expressed on social media is relief and joy knowing a young boy was saved from a harmful situation. As Baptist Press reported, it is proper and good for Christians to care for animals and be good stewards of all of God’s creation. But even if the gorilla did not have any intentions of harming the boy, due to his massive strength, the situation was too risky. The BP article rightly states the care given to animals is lower priority than the care to give to humans who are created in God’s image.
- Moore talks on addressing transgender issues with children
The concern of public facilities designed for privacy among men or women has been heightened because of recent transgender laws and mandates. The intention is to demonstrate support for those who are identified as transgender, allowing them to use the respective facility (bathroom, changing room, locker room) of which they self-identify.
Brian Hobbs covers this issue well in his piece “Transgendered in America.” This is not a concern for only those with conservative values, but a leader with the ACLU has resigned after her daughters were frightened after a bathroom incident.
For those looking for guidance in addressing transgender issue with children, check out Russell Moore’s podcast as he respectfully shares how to discuss this current topic that will be brought to children’s attention, if not now in the very near future.
- Worship songs matter
Bob Kauflin addresses the concern of questionable sources of worship songs. I think it’s a good reference for those leading congregations in singing. Check it out here.
There’s a lot of preferential elements that are involved in what churches sing in worship services. I know I have my preferences, and I’m sure you do too. I have much respect for worship leaders who have sincere intentions of selecting appropriate, worshipful music that help church attenders think and act biblically.