Last year around this time, the Oklahoma City Thunder were still dwelling on the loss of Kevin Durant, who left them to sign with the Golden State Warriors, leaving a huge void at the small forward position. Almost the complete opposite happened this offseason when the Thunder traded for a star small forward.

The unexpected trade of the offseason

Early in the offseason, Pacers star Paul George was making headlines because he said he will not re-sign with Indiana next summer and would like to go to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Pacers were prepared to trade him, talking to many teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers.

Then out of nowhere, George was traded to the Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Why was this trade so surprising? The Thunder were not actively engaged with the Pacers in trade talks, and other teams reportedly had better offers for George. In the end, Indiana settled for two young players and no draft picks in return for their All-Star forward.

George and Russell Westbrook should make for a nice duo since George is the type of player that is comfortable playing with or without the ball. However, Westbrook must still consider sharing touches with George and allowing him to take over certain possessions. After all, George has the ability to create offense for himself and teammates.

Most importantly, George will supply the Thunder with more perimeter defense.

Re-signing a couple of their own free agents

For the Thunder, it was crucial to bring back defensive ace Andre Roberson, who was a restricted free agent. The Thunder gave him a three-year, $30 million contract, which is fair enough.

While Roberson is extremely limited offensively, his defense is at an elite level. Last season, he did a monstrous job defending James Harden during the playoffs. Typically, the Thunder feed off Roberson’s defensive energy, and now he will secure the perimeter alongside another top-notch defender in Paul George.

Nick Collison also re-signed with the team and has made it clear that this will be his final season in the NBA. Collison has played his entire with the Thunder and wanted to remain loyal to them. Although Collison has become a third string player, Oklahoma City did the right thing to allow him to sign for one more year.

Other solid free agent signings

The Thunder made other minor moves as well, signing Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson to shore up their bench. Felton figures to play backup to Russell Westbrook and is more than capable of producing sufficiently as a reserve guard, as he did for Chris Paul and the Clippers last season.

Patterson had his ups and downs with the Toronto Raptors and was not able to handle a starting position.

In OKC, he may not earn a starting role, but he will nonetheless provide floor spacing and outside shooting.

To fill out the remainder of their training camp roster, the Thunder signed Daniel Hamilton, Tannis Morin, and Dakari Johnson.

The 2017 NBA draft

The Thunder only had one pick in this year’s draft, and they chose Terrance Ferguson 21st overall. Ferguson is a two guard with terrific athleticism and a solid jump shot. He may be able to crack the rotation if he is able to impress the Thunder enough during training camp.

The Oklahoma City Thunder clearly improved the roster this offseason, acquiring one of the biggest pieces of the summer. After a decent showing last season, they should be able to become a top four or five team this upcoming season.

Roster outlook

PG: Russell Westbrook/Raymond Felton/Semaj Christon

SG: Andre Roberson/Alex Abrines/Terrance Ferguson/Daniel Hamilton

SF: Paul George/Doug McDerMott/Kyle Singler/Josh Huestis

PF: Jerami Grant/Patrick Patterson/Nick Collison/Yannis Morin

C: Steven Adams/Enes Kanter/Dakari Johnson

Coach: Billy Donovan

Offseason Grade: B+

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