HoopsHype: OKC Thunder could be in market for veteran center

The Oklahoma City Thunder will enter the offseason with $35 million in cap space to toy with. It’s an unprecedented situation as the youngest first seed in league history will have ample opportunities to upgrade their roster.

An area of weakness is the backup big spot. Outside of Chet Holmgrem, OKC doesn’t roster a traditional center for next season. Because of this, the Thunder are viewed as a contender to sign several established centers this offseason.

According to HoopsHype NBA insider Michael Scotto, the Thunder could be in the market for marquee names at the backup center spot who could pair with Holmgren.

“Rival executives are monitoring the Thunder as a potential team in the free-agent center market this summer, with several names available, such as Nic Claxton – who can potentially command over $20 million on the market, as noted by HoopsHype – Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jonas Valanciunas, who’s not expected to return to New Orleans, as previously reported by HoopsHype.”

All three are interesting names. Claxton can be an athletic lob threat for the Thunder. He was discussed as a potential trade option during the trade deadline.

Valanciunas is a rebounding machine and can fix OKC’s woes on the boards almost by himself. He might be a problem in the playoffs, but there’s value in his regular-season performance.

Hartenstein will likely command a large payday after a breakout season with the New York Knicks. Odds are, his current squad would like to keep his services. If not, several teams would be interested in him as their starting center — something OKC can’t provide.

In total, all three players are attractive pieces that can improve the Thunder’s roster on paper, but considering the salary they’ll command, they’re likely not options for OKC.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire