Getty Images

Every year feels like the same refrain is said about the Western Conference: it's deeper than ever. But this past season that couldn't have been more true. It took until the last day of the regular season to figure out who would earn the No. 1 seed between the Thunder, Nuggets and Timberwolves. The play-in round featured matchups with LeBron James and Stephen Curry. And at the end of it all, the team that stood atop the West in the playoffs was a No. 5 seed in the Dallas Mavericks. It speaks to just how deep the conference is where any team can win, especially compared to an Eastern Conference where the Boston Celtics cakewalked to the No. 1 seed, and the NBA Finals.

And with this season wrapped up, all the teams in the West will now reset and figure out ways to get better for next season. So as the NBA Draft and free agency looms, here's the biggest question facing all 15 teams in the Western Conference. (You can find the biggest questions for every team in the East here.)

Oklahoma City Thunder: Will they grab a center?

The Thunder have already gotten going on making changes for next season. The trade for Alex Caruso answered an important question in figuring out how Josh Giddey fit on the team going forward. Well now he's in Chicago, and they replaced him with an All-Defensive guard who can hit 3s, an important skill that OKC desperately needed against the Mavericks in the playoffs. But that's not the only question facing this team. The loss against Dallas highlighted OKC's need for a big man, because they just let Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford feast off lobs all series. Chet Holmgren is a solid rim protector, but he can't play all game, and he's not strong enough to bully those guys in the paint. But does OKC feel like they need to add a more traditional rim protecting big who can't space the floor? That will mess up their whole flow on offense, and limit drives for the likes of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams. Do they feel like the matchup against Dallas just wasn't ideal and hope for better luck matchup wise next season? We'll see how they feel about this question with the moves they make this offseason.

Denver Nuggets: Will they retain Kentavious Caldwell-Pope?

Denver is going to have a tough situation on its hands this summer. KCP has been great for the Nuggets, but he's due for a payday, one that Denver may not be willing to pony up. He's planning on opting out of his $15.4 million player option, which means any team can vie for his services. It's going to put pressure on the Nuggets, because if they retain KCP, they'll likely hit the second tax apron and all of its restrictions. But if they lose him, well then that's one big piece of their core that helped win them a championship in 2023 missing. And losing him for nothing will be a tough pill to swallow, because while they may duck the second apron, they'll still be in the luxury tax, limiting their options in finding a replacement for him. 

Minnesota Timberwolves: Will ownership stalemate impact free agency?

There's going to be some on-court questions facing the Timberwolves now and in the future, like is Karl-Anthony Towns a potential trade candidate down the line at some point? But the big gray cloud looming over Minnesota this summer is the confusing ownership situation that's been going on in the background for a year. Marc Lore and former MLB star Alex Rodriguez were one payment away from completing their takeover as majority owners from Glen Taylor, but at the last minute Taylor said the Wolves and WNBA's Lynx were no longer for sale after Lore and Rodriguez needed to secure additional investment and needed an extension to make the final payment. Rodriguez was seen sitting courtside at several Wolves games throughout their playoff run, so it's clear he still has an interest in making this deal happen. But does Taylor? And how does all this drama impact how the Wolves spend this summer?

Los Angeles Clippers: What if Paul George leaves?

It's been really confusing that the Clippers and George haven't come to an agreement to an extension, and with the deadline for George to either pick up or decline his player option being June 29, we're coming close to him either testing out free agency, opting in to the deal and putting off the conversations for a year, or pulling a James Harden and opting in on a deal and requesting an immediate trade from L.A. If George leaves freely in free agency, what is L.A.'s plan for life without him? They still have Kawhi Leonard, who they signed to an extension during the season, but George has been the most reliable of the two mainly because of his availability. Do they still focus on re-signing Harden and Russell Westbrook and hope that roster is good enough to contend next season? They could talk George into a sign-and-trade to get assets back, or if he does opt-in and request a trade they could get solid pieces for him that way as well. Basically, George's decision has the power to alter how the Clippers move this summer, and if he wants to play elsewhere, the Clippers are going to have to figure out how to regroup.

Dallas Mavericks: Is there an upgrade available?

Dallas' surprise run to the NBA Finals was a win in itself. It proved Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving can work on the biggest stage, and that their midseason trades were a smart gamble. But it also showed the talent disparity between them and the Celtics. The Mavericks need a third playmaker next to Doncic and Irving, but the avenues for upgrading there are slim. They can trade their 2025 and 2031 first-round picks, and given their willingness to send out draft capital so freely in the last two years, that won't be a problem. But matching salary is where the tricky part comes in. The Mavericks don't have a ton of attractive assets to opposing teams, and it's going to be difficult to convince teams to take on the expiring contract of Tim Hardaway Jr., even if the money is deescalating. Dallas has been rumored to have interest in someone like Jerami Grant, but do the Mavs have anything Portland wants? What about Kyle Kuzma in D.C.? It's going to be another important offseason for Nico Harrison in Dallas, because getting to the Finals is difficult, but getting back there is even harder.

Phoenix Suns: How do you add depth?

The trio of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal didn't materialize in the way the Suns expected in part because of injuries, but also because all that spending on the Big Three meant the Suns were strapped in cash to spend elsewhere on the roster. That problem isn't going away this summer, so it's going to be another tough offseason trying to figure out how to balance out this roster to make it more competitive in the West. They've been rumored to have an inside track on re-signing Royce O'Neale, who had a solid year in Phoenix, but he alone isn't going to help the Suns get out of the first round of the playoffs. 

Los Angeles Lakers: What does JJ Redick's coaching staff look like?

Everyone's gotten off a joke about Redick having no prior coaching experience, but regardless of what anyone thinks of the hire, he's got the job. It may take him some time to adjust, like he said during his intro presser, he'll be "drinking out of a fire hose" to start as he familiarizes himself as the head honcho. That's why who he selects as his assistant coaches is going to be really intriguing. You could argue there's several intriguing things about L.A.'s looming offseason, like what does LeBron's new deal look like, do they draft Bronny James, how do they improve the roster. But how Redick builds his support staff could dictate how the Lakers play next season. There's been rumors that L.A. is eyeing Jared Dudley in Dallas as an assistant, which would be a smart hire if they can pry him from the Mavericks. They'll surely look at other assistants around the league, and maybe even some former head coaches to guide Redick. Who he adds as assistants may not seem super important, but he's a fish out of water here in a very high pressure situation. It absolutely matters who he brings in under him, and watching how that unfolds will tell us a lot about L.A's plans for next season.

New Orleans Pelicans: What can you get for Brandon Ingram?

The rumors about Brandon Ingram getting traded are deafening that it almost seems like a reality that his days as a Pelicans player are over. But what does that trade look like? New Orleans reportedly offered him to the Rockets in exchange for rising star Alperen Sengun. Houston quickly closed the door on that deal, and rightfully so. But that rumored deal does give some insight into what New Orleans might be thinking in trade talks. Sengun is a versatile big who can space the floor, which suites how Zion Williamson plays. Or perhaps the Pelicans look at Atlanta's backcourt and take one of Trae Young or Dejounte Murray off their hands. If it's for Young, it gives you an All-Star teammate to pair Williamson with, though the defense will suffer significantly. If it's Murray, you get a defensive-minded guard who can score from all over. It's unclear what Ingram's value is around the league, but if he's traded, the return value for New Orleans will impact the future of this franchise one way or the other.

Sacramento Kings: Is there a trade that gets this team back on track?

Sacramento broke a playoff drought a year ago, but this year they lost in the Play-In Tournament and were watching the playoffs at home. Has this team stagnated? They've already come to an agreement on a new deal with Malik Monk, an important box that needed to be checked off this summer. But how else can this team improve? Is there a trade worth making to get them back in the postseason? They've got some tradable assets that opposing teams would like, but what can they get for them? Is Kyle Kuzma available in D.C.? They almost landed him back in 2021 when he was originally traded from the Lakers, and they're rumored to have interest in him again. Kuzma adds defensive versatility and scoring, not that the Kings have significant issue with the latter. But Kuzma gives you a defender you can guard multiple positions. And if it's not Kuzma, maybe it's someone else, but it doesn't feel like the roster as currently constructed can compete with the top teams in the West.

Golden State Warriors: Is Klay Thompson's time in The Bay really over?

Thompson reportedly isn't happy with what the Warriors are offering in the form of a new deal, which means the possibility of him exiting the only team he's ever played for is closer to becoming a reality. If he isn't with the Warriors next season, how does Golden State replace him? It's clear the only reason there's been a stalemate is because the Warriors don't want to pay Thompson what he thinks he's worth, and while he's struggled to regain his pre-injury form, not having him there does still leave a hole in the roster. Do you have that much faith in Brandin Podziemski to be a full-time starter? He had a great rookie year, and even started a few games in place of Thompson, but can he make enough of a leap offensively to make up for Thompson's absence? Do you outsource someone to replace Thompson for cheaper? And for Thompson, is Orlando -- and long-rumored suitor -- really where you want to go next? 

Houston Rockets: Do they swing for the fences for a win-now move?

Houston has been attached to practically everyone leading into the draft, which could be a bit of gamesmanship as they hold the No. 3 overall pick Wednesday's draft, a pick that reportedly could be on the move. Names like Durant, George and Jimmy Butler have all come up as potential trade targets for Houston, but do you swing for one of those guys right now? The Rockets finished .500 this season, highlighted by a strong close to the year, but is now the time to shift into win-now mode? Alperen Sengun was a fringe All-Star candidate, Jabari Smith Jr. improved, and Fred VanVleet was the ideal veteran to connect all the pieces. But once you pull off a blockbuster trade to land an All-Star level talent, expectations change, timelines are pushed up and development of young players is expected to move at a rapid pace. I don't know if Houston is ready just yet for all the expectations that come with a big trade like that, but from all the rumors circulating them, it feels like they do.

Utah Jazz: Is this the summer of a true rebuild?

I'm not really sure what Utah's plans are for next season. Teams have been interested in Collin Sexton, namely the Lakers, they're probably getting calls every day about Lauri Markkanen, and after an All-Star year last season, it might make sense to trade him now while his value is still high. The same goes for Jordan Clarkson, who the team signed to an extension last summer. But Utah hasn't shown a willingness to move any of its valuable assets, but after a year in which they finished 31-51, and holding onto the No. 10 overall pick in Wednesday's draft, is this the summer that they start to sell their pieces? They'll likely get a good return for Markkanen and Clarkson, as both could be valuable pieces on contending teams. But is Utah ready to enter a full rebuild?

Memphis Grizzlies: Where do you find a center?

It was a forgotten season for the Grizzlies after Ja Morant's suspension and subsequent shoulder surgery followed by a litany of other injuries that had the team trotting out 10-day and two-way players for a bulk of the season. But that can just be a painful memory at this point. Everyone will be healthy next season, and this year was a great way to develop the younger guys like GG Jackson, who played himself into at least a chance at a rotation spot next season. But the one glaring need is a starting center. Steven Adams missed the entire season after undergoing knee surgery, then was traded before the deadline to Houston. Which means Memphis is in the market for a replacement. There's a couple of candidates on the trade market and in free agency, but the Grizzlies also own the ninth overall pick in the upcoming draft, and selecting a center on a rookie contract would be significantly cheaper than trading for one or competing with other teams for someone like Isaiah Hartenstein in the open market.

San Antonio Spurs: Do they trade for a point guard?

One thing that was clear about Victor Wembanyama's rookie season is that the Spurs need to get him a quality point guard to make this work. Luckily, San Antonio owns two picks in the top 10 of Wednesday night's draft to answer that need. But, does it also make sense to survey the trade market to find one? There's a certain guard in Atlanta that has previously played for Gregg Popovich that could make a nice reunion. The Hawks could make one -- or both -- of Dejounte Murray and Trae Young available this summer, and given Murray's successful history with the Spurs, it would make sense. Or how about an aging veteran with a penchant for helping rebuilding teams: Chris Paul. The timeline might not match up, but it would certainly aide in Wemby's development, and if the Spurs draft a point guard this week they would have the ability to learn under Paul. It could be the perfect situation if CP3 doesn't mind spending what could be one of his final years with a team in a rebuilding situation. 

Portland Trail Blazers: Will the Blazers stock up on future assets?

Portland may be the only team in the West that won't be competitive next season. That's not necessarily a bad thing, they're very early in a rebuild, but life in a rebuild is a lot tougher in the West where almost every night feels like playing against the Monstars. So you would think that in continuing down the path of a rebuild means parting ways with Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon. Both players would be valuable on playoff contenders, and now is the perfect time to trade both guys. But we saw how Joe Cronin played hardball with the Damian Lillard trade, so this situation may unnecessarily drag on as well.