A recent blockbuster trade notwithstanding, just about everyone expects the Thunder to make the playoffs again this year and every year for the foreseeable future.
But the team and Oklahoma City officials say it's too early to know if there will be playoff watch parties again in Thunder Alley.
The watch parties outside Chesapeake Energy Arena came to abrupt end after a May 21 playoff win when eight people were hurt in a Bricktown shooting with roots in Thunder Alley, turning out the lights on what had become an organic and boisterous expression of community support.
The growing crowds and limited security support in place led the team and city to agree to turn off the large screen affixed to the arena's exterior for the remainder of the team's NBA Finals run.
The team is seeking another permit to operate the pregame carnival portion of Thunder Alley during the regular season in a permit application up for approval at Tuesday's Oklahoma City Council meeting.
The regular season Thunder Alley celebrations have not traditionally included a watch party, and that will continue to be the case, team spokesman Dan Mahoney said.
Discussions on whether to revive the watch parties for the playoffs haven't yet taken place.
“That's a long way away,” Mahoney said, referring to the start of the playoffs in April. “At this point, no, we would have no plans to do anything like that.”
Thunder Alley will consist only of the pregame carnival for now, with festivities ending when the game begins. It's also only a staple of games before and after the winter.
“We'll do several games at the start of the season in November. Once winter comes, we do not do an outdoor Thunder Alley,” Mahoney said. “But we'll resume it in the spring.”
Though the decision to shut down the watch parties after the May shooting was described by the team and city as jointly made, the city has the ultimate authority and can revoke the permit.
But city officials have said the decision to end the watch parties last spring doesn't necessarily mean they can't happen again, so long as a good plan is in place.