Archive - June 2017

Thunder trade for Paul George

The Oklahoma City Thunder made a blockbuster trade on Friday night. The Thunder traded Victor Oladipo and Domas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George.

Oklahoma City’s odds to win the 2017-18 NBA title went from 60-1 to 40-1, according to the Westgate Las Vegas.

Paul George told the Pacers only a week or so ago he was not going to re-sign and wanted to be traded. Indiana obliged, sending the rental to Oklahoma City.

This is Sam Presti’s magical moves once again at work. While free agent-wise, Oklahoma City is not a premiere destination, the Thunder and Presti have been wizards in the ability to acquire quality players via trades.

The Thunder were last in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage last season (32.7). George shot 39.3 percent in 2016-17, which would’ve ranked first on OKC (minimum five attempts).

This signals a win now move by Presti, to Westbrook. This shows how much he’s working to keep Westbrook on a title contender.

George is a modern superstar and a quality two-way player who has been able to lockdown opponent’s best perimeter players. Westbrook now has a second option after being the only option all of last season.

George, 27, averaged a career high 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game on 46 percent shooting.

This will be the first time George has been paired with a legitimate superstar. While he has always been the no. 1 option in Indiana, that pressure will be off him, hopefully for an improved offensive game.

For the Thunder, this is a big risk, big reward situation. George is obviously a 1-year rental. However, having him on a contending team may just sway the former Fresno State Bulldog to stay in Bricktown.

Oladipo never seemed to fit in the Thunder’s system. He was inconsistent and often disappeared when it was crunch time. The former no. 2 pick moves onto his third team in three years. Oladipo averaged 15.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and a career low 2.3 assists

Sabonis was thought to be the next starting power forward of the franchise. However, an absolutely dismal performance all season long, led to the benching when the Thunder acquired Taj Gibson. Sabonis was relegated to bench time and had a couple of DNPs. Sabonis averaged 5.9 points on 39.9 percent from the field and only 32.1 percent from three.

Oklahoma City could still be working and we might hear their name a few more times before the sun rises.

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Thunder to meet with Zach Randolph

The Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly shown interest in Grizzlies’ unrestricted free agent Zach Randolph, the soon to be 36-year old veteran power forward.

According to Turner Sports reporter David Aldridge, Randolph is set to meet with teams in Los Angeles tonight. Interest is coming from the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sacramento Kings, and Los Angeles Clippers. Free agency officially begins tonight at 11 p.m.

In a sixth-man type role for the Grizzlies last season, Randolph appeared in 73 games averaging 14.1 points a game and just over 8.2 rebounds. He will be entering his 18th season in the association, and could be a very solid veteran player off the bench for Oklahoma City.

The Thunder have been looking for more consistency off their bench and Randolph could be a good start, as he is a veteran who knows what exactly is role is in this league.

Oklahoma City, with the situation as is, does not have much money to spend on the free agency market. But with an older veteran like Randolph, they could get him for a pretty nice bargain, considering his age. He will be 36 by the end of the month and has a lot playing on his resume. Even so, Randolph could be a nice addition to the very young core the Thunder have right now.

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C.J. Miles on Thunder’s radar

The Oklahoma City Thunder are taking a look the 30-year old 6-foot-6 inch small forward C.J. Miles.

According to ESPN writer, Royce Young, Oklahoma City still have C.J. Miles on its radar as free agency is only hours away.

Miles has opted out of contract with the Indiana Pacers to test free agency this offseason. The Washington Post has Miles as the 23 best free agent this offseason.

This past season Miles scored 10.7 points and three rebounds a game in 23.4 minutes.

The Thunder are probably most interested in his three-point shooting as he shot a career high 41.3 percent from behind the three-point-line with the Pacers last season, a career high.

Miles is also solid on defense as averaged 0.6 steals last season and he can hold his own.

Miles could fit well as a role player to help the bench with scoring and the team in shooting from behind the arc as OKC lead the league last year in missed wide open three-pointers.

This move seems realistic for the Thunder as it shouldn’t cost them too much money as they are basically capped out at the moment and the salary cap increase is two million less than what it was expected to be.

 

Free agency starts at 11:01 p.m. tonight and we could see some mayhem only minutes after the start of it.

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Thunder interested in Michael Carter-Williams

Royce Young of ESPN reported on Friday afternoon the Thunder have interest in the No. 11 pick in the 2013 Draft. Michael Carter-Williams is a target for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Not a shooter, nor is he a really good defender, Carter-Williams can provide a back-up role that Semaj Christon maybe could not. Christon became a liability in the playoffs and struggled so much, Russell Westbrook eventually played 40-plus minutes in the playoffs. Not a good idea for a player who goes 100 mph at a time.

Carter-Williams, 25, has hopped around the league a bit after finally being traded out of Philadelphia. He’s played with two different teams the last two seasons, in Milwaukee and in Chicago last season.

With the Bulls, Carter-Williams appeared in 45 games and only averaged 6.6 points per game, a career low, on 18.8 points per game, also a career low. His shooting percentages in Chicago were career lows across the board and in comparing per-36 minute numbers, Carter-Williams is a border line NBA player at best.

(per-36 stats)

Player A: 12.6 points on 36.6 percent from the field and 23.4 percent from three-point range.

Player B: 8.2 points on 41.1 percent from the field and 18.9 percent from three.

Player A is Carter-Williams and Player B is Kyle Singler. There isn’t a lot separating the two.

However, compared to Christon, Carter-Williams is a much needed upgrade and probably at a really cheap price.

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Thunder announce Summer League Roster

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Friday afternoon their 2017 Orlando Pro Summer League roster. These .. players will fight for the name on the chest in Orlando this week.

Here are the rules and schedule for the upcoming Thunder Summer League. Games start July 1 and go through July 6 on Championship Day.

Here is this year’s roster:

As you can see there are some names that you recognize and a handful you do not. That’s nothing new. Summer league is often a time for players who are not in the association to show their stuff. The OPSL is the best case for that as it is open to media, team and league personnel only. Though, sponsored by Mountain Dew, it’s often a secluded venue that allows GMs and other executives to get a real look at the talent on the court.

One thing to truly remember, Summer league performances should never been taken seriously. Remember, Jeremy Lamb won the Summer League MVP in 2013 and see how that turned out?

Of course, when big name rookies appear, that helps, too. Here’s a look at the Thunder’s summer league roster:

Terrance Ferguson

Ferguson, 19, drafted 21st in this year’s draft. This will be his first real competition against NBA level talent.

Domas Sabonis

The Lithuanian did not play with the summer league team last year as he was playing with his Olympic team. However, he had his ups and downs this season. Sabonis started for a majority of the season before being benched for Taj Gibson.

Semaj Christon

Christon has been here before, numerous times, in fact. However, he finally made the roster last season and will try to compound on that momentum into another roster spot. Though, he statistically had the worst Thunder season last year.

Josh Huestis

An urban legend come to life. Huestis rarely makes appearances with the senior team but often starts on the Oklahoma City Blue. In his two years in the NBA, Huestis has made an appearance in seven games. He’s shooting 60 percent from three and his career per-36 numbers are off the charts. He averaged (per-36) 16.3 points per game last year.

Dakari Johnson

The big man out of Kentucky has never really worn the Thunder blue in his professional career, sans preseason games. However, Johnson will be a staple in the Thunder’s center position this summer. Last year for the Thunder, Johnson averaged 11.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Daniel Hamilton

Hamilton is a bit unknown. While he was drafted by the Thunder, he was immediately sent to the Blue. There was no acknowledging him as they drafted other players. He was only a second round buy. Last season for the Thunder in summer league, Hamilton averaged 5.8 points on abysmal shooting. However, for the Blue he was solid. He averaged 14.9 points per game on improved shooting.

Dylan Ennis

Undrafted out of Oregon, Ennis will play for the Thunder in Orlando and then hop on a jet to Las Vegas to play with the Golden State Warriors. He’ll get plenty of time to shine. At Oregon, Ennis averaged 10.9 points his senior year.

Brad Wanamaker

Though Wanamaker went to Pitt and so did Steven Adams, they were a year or so apart from their time in the Steel City. Wanamaker made the training camp squad of the Atlanta Hawks in 2011 but was cut shortly after because of the shorten preseason due to the lockout. He’s been playing in Europe since.

Markel Brown

A local fan favorite as Markel Brown played at Oklahoma State from 2010-2014. Brown was drafted in the second round, played two seasons for the Nets before being cut. Brown almost made the Cavs last season but was cut before the season started. He played in Russia last season.

Malcolm Hill

The Illinois alum lit twitter afire when it was reported Hill would be playing for the Thunder. The Fighting Illini guard went undrafted but showed a lot of promise this past season. He averaged 17.6 points per game his junior and senior years at Illinois. He could be a nice addition to the Blue.

Rashawn Thomas

Another local product signed to the summer league is Rashawn Thomas. He played at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this last season. Out of Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, many feel Thomas could actually make the Thunder’s roster on the two-way agreement that’s allowed in the new CBA. He averaged almost 23 points per game at TAMCC. Only nine players averaged more than him this past season.

Shaquille Hines

Hines played at Rio Grande Valley for four years before going over seas to play in Sweden. The 6-7 forward is seeing his first ever NBA action, summer league or training camp wise.

Vince Hunter

This 24-year old has been on the cusp of making multiple NBA teams but hasn’t stuck around. He’s been in training camp with the Bulls and the Kings. The 6-9 forward was a G-League All-Star in 2016 then was in Russia last season.

Yannis Morin

The French big man has never played in the league, let alone been on a summer league squad. This is a weird selection for the Thunder other than they need to fill bodies. Will be interesting in what he can do. He’s 6-10 and only 205 lbs.

Marcus Paige

This name may sound familiar. Paige spent his college years in Chapel Hill playing for North Carolina. Last season, he was a member of the Salt Lake City Stars, a G-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz. He averaged over 12 points per game for SLC.

Marcus Thornton

After being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2015, Thornton spent a year in the G-League before being released. He was in Italy last season playing for Consultinvest VL Pesaro. He shot over 34 percent from three while in Italy. He played his college ball at William & Mary.

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OKC needs Blake Griffin but does he want OKC?

Chris Paul is gone. J.J. Redick is out the door. The rebuilding year of the Clippers has finally arrived. Blake Griffin has opted out and will be a free agent in a matter of hours. Many think L.A. has a good chance at re-signing the University of Oklahoma superstar. However, they also said that about Kevin Durant and Bricktown.

Last season, Washington was enamored with the idea of Kevin Durant coming home. It never came to fruition. In fact, the Wizards never even got as much as a “new phone, who dis” text message from Durant’s people. Before this last off season, players rarely went home. However, as Chris Herring of 538 wrote, the LeBron James effect happened. Eight players moved within 100 miles of their home town.

Going home often means dealing with people you probably have outgrown while you’re away but they drag you back in when you get home. Players often talk about the multitude of tickets they’re forced to buy when they return home. Most do not realize they’re given only two tickets per game. When they give out those two and have to procure others, it’s at the expense of a teammate or their own pocketbook.

For the Thunder, they’ve made it apparent for almost two years their intent on hunting down Griffin and bringing him home. The fit with Russell Westbrook would be almost natural. A stretch four who can step out and hit the jumper or fly through the air like a hilariously witty superman. Oklahoma City would be rightfully so a contender once again, despite Griffin’s health issues.

Griffin may not be available until December because of the toe injury that ended his playoff run, according to an ESPN report,

All of this is given that the Thunder have the money — they don’t. So, sign-and-trade is their only option. However, before we really break down the brass tax of whether Oklahoma City can afford Griffin, we have to ask ourselves the tough question: Does Griffin want to be in Oklahoma City?

In the growing age of technology in the 21st century, it’s easy to say that anything can be done from anywhere in the globe. Look at the fact that your MVP is a fashion icon in Nichols Hills, AMERICA. However, Griffin’s involvement within his producing and directing is tough to do in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City would love if Griffin would come home. His parents still live in Oklahoma City. They’re at all of the Clippers games when they visit the Thunder. They’re very visible for those who followed the Sooners when Griffin was a member.

It seems like a no brainer, right? Play with Westbrook. Get to see mom and pops on the regular and get paid handsomely in the process. Not everyone is about winning through. Although we can’t read Griffin’s mind, him setting up an interview with the Phoenix Suns speaks volumes on his want to win now mentality. Sure, three straight 50-plus win seasons and still never a trip to the conference finals could have molded this decision making. However, if he wanted to, he could stay in L.A. and get ready for the massive amount of salary the Clippers will have next off season. It is reported they’re going to try and sign two max players.

All of this and still no word whether Griffin is going to take a meeting with the Thunder. A man from the backyards of the Nic’s Grill and mums the word whether he’s going to entertain the Thunder’s proposal.

Although Griffin to Oklahoma City would be a metaphorical and literal slam dunk for the organization, it also appears to be falling out of interest for the Thunder. Griffin should take the meeting, but until then, I won’t get my hopes up.

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Oklahoma City Thunder Free Agent Tracker

Welcome to the one of the craziest days of the year in the NBA. The official start of free agency. I, Chuck, do not personally follow any other professional sports free agency periods, so I cannot attest to how wild they can be. I can tell you the NBA’s history might trump anything they have to offer.

This is going to be your one shop stop for all things Thunder related free agency news. We’re going to write articles on rumors and factual events. Then, we’re going to link them up here. We’re also going to share interesting tweets and stories that have been written by credible fake news sources. Anything we have posted here will be thoroughly vetted and confirmed before we post it. The last thing we want to do is be the sharer of some misinformation.

List of people to follow on twitter if you’re interested: Us, Royce Young, Ramona Shelburne, Zach LoweAdrian Wojnarwoski, Marc Stein (ESPN), Brad Turner (Blake Griffin information), Marc Spears, Chris Mannix, Sam Amick, and Lee Jenkins.

All of the top updates will be at the top. To go in chronological order, scroll to the bottom, work your way up.

Without Further adieu:

July 7

July 5

Andre Roberson returns to the Thunder.

July 4

Patrick Patterson inks three-year deal with OKC.

July 2

Rudy Gay leaves Oklahoma City with no deal.

Taj Gibson officially signs with the Timberbulls.. I mean Timberwolves.

 

July 1

Thunder officially offer Westbrook Super Max

Rudy Gay was in the building!

Looks like Michael Carter-Williams is off the block.

Swaggy P to OKC? Yes Please.

June 30

OKLAHOMA CITY TRADES FOR PAUL GEORGE

Michael Carter-Williams is a Thunder Target.

Looks like the Thunder are interested in CJ Miles, too.

Z-Bo could be all go for the Thunder.

June 29

Woj says Oklahoma City and Rudy Gay seem to fit. Our own Brady Trantham breaks it down.

Could Sam Presti leave for New York?

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New York Knicks interested in Sam Presti

According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, the New York Knicks have had internal conversations about possibly adding Sam Presti to their front office to replace Phil Jackson.

In the report, Begley says that the Knicks would “likely need to offer compensation to OKC for Presti, who is currently under contract.”

It is unclear how serious the talks are at this point. Regardless, New York is being run currently by Steve Mills.

Presti is an attractive name to float around to add to another team’s front office. With a résumé including drafting Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka among others, Presti was ranked first out of all 30 NBA general managers by Bleacher Report.

The Knicks are in disarray after the abysmal tenure of Jackson. It is safe to assume the talks are wishful thinking at this time. Considering the Knicks would need to compensate Oklahoma City, these whispers appear to be only that — whispers.

Stranger things have happened, however.

Presti recived a multi-year extension to his previous contract in 2010. Thunder owner Clay Bennett did not announce the terms at the time.

 

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Westbrook, Thunder in top 10 jersey sells for April-June

Westbrook nominated for multiple ESPY awards

According to NBAStore.com, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are in the top 10 of jersey sells for the months of April and June.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP came in at fourth behind Steph Curry, LeBron James and former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant. Another former Oklahoma City player cracked the top 10 — James Harden came in at number nine.

As a team, the Oklahoma City Thunder ranked seventh in overall team merchandise sells. Those that finished ahead of the Thunder were the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Overall, Westbrook is the fourth highest jersey sell for the 2016-17 season behind the same three players.

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OKC still interested in Rudy Gay

The former Sacramento King small forward Rudy Gay is still on the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s radar.

According to The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowksi, the soon to be free agent will be hosting suitors in Austin, Texas while the Thunder “continues to be a team that sees fit.”

Ever since the departure of Kevin Durant, Gay and Oklahoma City have been linked in numerous trade rumors prior to the achilles injury he sustained on January 18 against the Indiana Pacers. At the time, Gay and former Thunder back up point guard Cameron Payne were linked in a potential deal.

It is unclear what role Gay’s achilles tear will play in his free agency experience. As Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript points out, players who have suffered a similar injury — such as Dallas Maverick Wes Mathews — have never fully bounced back from an achilles tear.

Considering Oklahoma City is near the tax, the Thunder may not extend the full mid-level extension towards Gay as that would hard cap them, according to Katz.

The fit is a little puzzling. While his position is that of a small forward, Gay has experience playing power forward in small ball lineups. Not typically known for his rebounding or defense, the experiments in Sacramento at PF did not yield pleasing results.

The Thunder have plenty of bigs at the PF and center positions.

His shooting skills, scoring and offensive versatility are what Thunder general manager Sam Presti probably see in potentially adding him in free agency.

Prior to his injury, Gay was averaging 18.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting to go along with 37 percent from beyond the arc. The former University of Connecticut Husky is a career 18.4 point scorer and averages just over five rebounds per game.

Free agency meetings can begin on Saturday, July 1 at 12:01 a.m.

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