Thunder Rumors: Westbrook, Anthony, Donovan, George

The Thunder need to change their offensive system if they’re ever going to get deep in the playoffs again, Zach Lowe of ESPN argues in a detailed look at the team’s scheme over the years. Their overreliance on Russell Westbrook proved to be their downfall once again in the series against the Jazz. Westbrook used up 38% of their possessions in the series, a higher rate than even LeBron James had for the Cavaliers in the first round, Lowe notes. The Thunder need their other star players to have more coherent roles as well as build a better bench, so that they can hold their own when Westbrook rests. Lowe adds.

In other Thunder-related news and musings:

  • Trading Carmelo Anthony is the least likely outcome this offseason as the team tries to figure out what to do with the aging and disgruntled forward, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Not only would it be tough to trade his contract if he picks up his $27.9MM option, he also has a no-trade clause, Horne notes. A buyout or utilizing the stretch provision are more viable options, or the team could simply retain him and hope for better results, Horne adds.
  • Making a decision whether to retain coach Billy Donovan ranks as the biggest issue immediately confronting the team, Sean Deveney of the Sporting News opines. Trying to hold onto impending free agent Paul George and figuring out a way to shed Anthony are two of the other major issues hanging over their head, Deveney continues. The recovery of defensive ace Andre Roberson from a knee injury is another concern, Deveney adds.
  • Donovan will probably keep his job but it could be even more difficult next season, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman argues. While the players generally respect and like Donovan, they don’t always follow his orders, Tramel continues Things could get even dicier next season if George doesn’t re-sign.However, Donovan still has two years and $12MM left on his contract, and that should work in his favor, Tramel adds.
  • George is quite aware how important he is to the organization and its future, Horne writes in a separate piece. George has been impressed with the franchise during his first season in Oklahoma City but there’s no telling if he’ll return. “We’ve had the high moments where we’ve seen what we can be,” George told Horne and other media members. “That’s the consistency part of just getting an identity as a group. I think we’re close. I think we’re close to accomplishing something bigger here.”
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