Thunder Notes: New Arena, Wiggins, Biggest Need

The Thunder took a major step toward the construction of a new arena. The Oklahoma City city council approved a development agreement with team ownership for a new downtown arena on Tuesday, Jessie Christoper Smith of The Oklahoman reports.

Oklahoma City voters previously overwhelmingly approved a 72-month, one-cent sales tax to fund construction of a new arena at a $900MM minimum cost.

Per the new agreement, the city would first invest $78MM originally meant to be spent on improving the current Paycom Center. Then, the city would spend $50MM contributed by the Thunder ownership, before using a minimum of $772MM via the sales tax.

The city will work with the team on an earlier target schedule, outlining a possible completion of the arena as early as June 2028. City officials often have said they hope to complete the arena ahead of the 2029/2030 season. Thunder ownership can terminate the agreement if the city does not meet the 2030 deadline.

We have more on the Thunder:

  • They have an interesting decision to make involving Aaron Wiggins, who has become a valuable rotation piece. They hold a $1.99MM option on his contract for next season but they could choose to decline Wiggins’ team option in order to make him a restricted free agent. Then, they could sign him to a long-term pact, Rylan Stiles of Sports Illustrated notes, similar to the way they locked up Luguentz Dort.
  • With some key players still on rookie contracts, the Thunder have the opportunity to use their assets and find one more impact player, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. The postseason showed that their most glaring is a secondary play-maker with size, though identifying and acquiring the right player to fill that void will be difficult.
  • In case you missed it, Gordon Hayward was unhappy over his lack of playing time in the postseason.
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