I am actually using Anthony Morrow as an excuse to write about the potential future uncertainty of his current team the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Morrow was signed as a free agent before the 2014-15 season started and he made a solid contribution to the Thunder’s cause averaging 10.7 points per game on 46.3% shooting from the floor and 43.4% from three-point land in 74 games.
His production was needed in a major way this season because of all the health issues that plagued the Thunder’s superstars.
Both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant missed significant time this year.
Russell Westbrook missed 15 games this season 14 coming with a banged up wrist and one game coming via a facial fracture.
It seemed as though Kevin Durant was virtually out for the season playing in 27 of 82 games this year.
Even though Russell Westbrook displayed a herculean effort in an attempt to get OKC into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, it fell short on the final night of the season.
Ultimately, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks lost his job and according to a report from yahoo.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Pat Forde, the Thunder and University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan are agreeing to terms that will make Donovan the new head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Nov 23, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow (2) attempts a shot against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
What people don’t talk about is that this coaching hire puts the future of the franchise in a state of uncertainty.
It has been reported that general manager Sam Presti did not even converse with Russell Westbrook or Kevin Durant about the potential hire of Donovan.
Also, look at the potential free agency conundrum that OKC is going to be facing over the next two years, and you can begin to see where the uncertainty affects Anthony Morrow.
In 2016, Kevin Durant is scheduled to be a free agent, and in 2017 Russell Westbrook is going to be a free agent.
Guess who else is a free agent in 2017! That’s right Anthony Morrow! The 2016-17 season will be the final year of his 3-year/$10,032,000 contract.
This means that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Anthony Morrow can all become tradable commodities with Donovan as coach.
This team is built for a championship as currently constructed.
But a coaching hire like Billy Donovan says that Sam Presti is really not thinking about the championship run next season, but is thinking about the possible roster overhaul he is planning with his tradable commodities.
If he was truly considering a run at a championship and keeping his teams core together, he would have hired an experienced NBA coach like Mark Jackson, or made a run at Tom Thibodeau this offseason.
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Hiring a close friend like Billy Donovan spells rebuild.
It gives you that transition feeling similar to the Boston Celtics when Doc Rivers moved on to the Los Angeles Clippers and Danny Ainge brought in Brad Stevens from the College Ranks.
With coaching change comes change in coaching philosophy and change in roster to fit that philosophy.
Anthony Morrow is a spot up shooter that could help OKC, but his 2016-17 expiring contract could make him either a tradable commodity, or a player that plays his contract out and hits the open market the same year as Russell Westbrook.
Sam Presti’s coaching move makes the likelihood of this team getting blown up pretty good and there is a small possibility that Anthony Morrow could get caught in the shuffle.