Happy Transformers Day to all (at least the early screening). Here are the rumblings for this Tuesday.
Ben Collins of SLAM Magazine asks the question we’ve all been asking since the regular season ended: Why is the MVP award even up for debate?: “Fifty years from now, when your self-driving car casually plows through a half-dozen jersey barriers and into a bridge stanchion while you’re flipping around Basketball Reference, you will exit the remains of your TeslaFord 27 Coupe Presented by Starbucks™ and you will be furious. You won’t be pissed at the car. (You tried to hack the in-car blender and it messed with the GPS. That’s on you.) You will be pissed at the Basketball Reference thing. You’ll have been looking at Russell Westbrook’s 2016-17 stats and there will not be the appropriate technology to explain why a 2017 MVP debate even existed.”
Fred Katz looks at how a possible Paul George to OKC deal would look like: “Of course, merely wanting one of the NBA’s best players — someone who can shoot, run an offense, defend and perform come playoff time — isn’t enough to acquire him. All it would do is put the Thunder in the same category as the other 29 teams. Because of that, even with the unenviable position George has put the Pacers in, one where they obviously lack leverage in any trade negotiation, Indiana can probably score more for George than OKC could offer. The Thunder could package a deal around shooting guard Victor Oladipo and the No. 21 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. Matching salaries would be easy to do with Oladipo’s extension kicking in for the 2017-18 season, when he’ll make $21 million. And it’s plausible the Pacers would be just a bit more excited with Oladipo than any other team since he spent three collegiate seasons playing at University of Indiana.”
Brett Dawson looks at UCLA’s TJ Leaf as a target for the Thunder at 21: “He spent a year in college, but T.J. Leaf wasn’t finished studying. The UCLA power forward went into the NBA predraft process with some understanding of the teams he’d be meeting with. He knows their rosters from “being a gym rat and watching basketball,” he told reporters at last month’s draft combine, and from his video-game days with NBA2K. But he wanted to know even more.”
Jon Hamm looks at how the Thunder may approach free agency this year: “When the clock strikes 12:01 AM ET on July 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder will make its interest known to Clippers free agent Blake Griffin. It will undoubtedly make the same phone call to Gordon Hayward’s representatives. Heck, it’ll probably reach out to Chris Paul’s people as well. And if he opts-out of his contract with Golden State, the Thunder will most likely hit up Kevin Durant’s people. It’s standard operation every offseason, even when the Thunder doesn’t have cap space available. It’s not just Oklahoma City that does it, either. As noted in “Return of the King” by Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin, all 30 NBA teams reached out to LeBron James in July 2014 when he opted out of his contract with Miami. That included the Thunder, who had as much a chance of landing the megastar as the Nets have of winning a 7-game series against the Warriors today.”