Daily Thunder Rumblings – 03 July 2017

We’ll just call these Rumblings the Paul George edition. Here’s Monday’s edition of DTR.

Tuesday will mark a dubious anniversary for Thunder fans. But Sunday marked a not so fun anniversary for Sonics fans: “Sunday is the ninth anniversary of the settlement that allowed the owners of the Seattle SuperSonics to move the NBA franchise to Oklahoma City. Renamed the Thunder, the franchise has been among the NBA’s most successful since 2008-09, its first season playing in Oklahoma City. The Thunder had a 23-59 record in their first season but have been above .500 every season since. Beginning with the 2009-10 season, the Thunder have a .653 win percentage, second to only the San Antonio Spurs’ .725 win percentage in that time.”

Taj Gibson signed with Minnesota on Sunday. Here’s what his exit means to the Thunder: “Not long ago, the Thunder was stacked at power forward. Suddenly, it looks like a position of need. Free-agent Taj Gibson agreed to a two-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday that The Vertical was reported for $28 million.”

Oh, Enes. Always the trolling king. Never change, ‘Stache Bro.

Breaking news: Rudy Gay’s locker name plate isn’t real, as of yet: “Rudy Gay is leaving Oklahoma City without an agreement to join the Thunder, ESPN reported on Sunday. The free-agent forward, a longtime Thunder target, is seeking a new team after opting out of the final year of his contract with the Sacramento Kings and was in OKC on Saturday.”

J.A. Adande of ESPN looks at the intestinal fortitude it took for Sam Presti to pull off the George trade: “It’s time to superimpose Sam Presti’s face on that video of LaVar Ball strutting through the WWE stage and sliding into the wrestling ring. Presti, the Oklahoma City Thunder general manager, took the boldest step of the NBA summer, even if he’s just following the example set by others. It’s good to see him join the self-confidence party.”

Russell Westbrook now has his necessary cohort: “The news came just before dusk, on a stormy night. But through the shadows, clouds, lightning and, yes, Thunder, the light of incredible news broke through. Paul George is headed for Oklahoma City. Sorry, Lakers. Sorry, Boston. Sorry, Cleveland. You all could have used the Pacers’ star swingman. But no team will make better use of George than the Thunder.”

Does Westbrook have the chops to one day be political: “Here’s the plan: Declare that the only way you will extend your contract with the Thunder (this summer would be nice, but congress is too slow for that), is if the powers-that-be sign and put into effect a substantial teacher pay raise ($8,000-plus). Let’s find out if they do care about the education. If you pull that off, your legacy would grow to even greater levels as it would affect everyone in this state, but especially our children for many years to come.”

Zach Lowe gave the Thunder a positive review for the George trade: “You know a trade is good when even the downside has upside. Consider this scenario: Russell Westbrook, basking in the Paul George hoopla, agrees to a five-year supermax extension to stay in Oklahoma City, George bolts for L.A., and the Thunder rebuild again with only Westbrook and Steven Adams tied to big-money long-term contracts. You might quibble with how nice that upside is. There is risk in ponying up 40 percent of the cap to Westbrook as he passes 30; he’s a so-so shooter who relies on athleticism, with knee surgery in the rearview. That is not the profile of a player who typically ages well. How exactly the Thunder would lure surrounding talent for Westbrook and Adams is unclear.”

The New Zealand Herald is very keen on the George trade helping Steven Adams: “Steven Adams’ Oklahoma City Thunder have made a big upgrade. They’ve reportedly traded for Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, who’s considered one of the top 15 players in the league, averaging 23 points last season. The Thunder may have George for just one season, as he’s already announced his intentions to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent at the end of the coming season.”

Five Thirty Eight looks at the Thunder’s chances in the West after the George trade: “Paul George is headed to Oklahoma City, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, and the Thunder may be back to being title contenders — or at least in the mix to be the West’s second-best team behind Golden State. Just hours before the NBA’s free agency period begins, the Indiana Pacers have traded George to the Thunder for former No. 2 overall pick Victor Oladipo and rising sophomore Domantas Sabonis. Oklahoma City had acquired Oladipo and the draft pick that became Sabonis from Orlando in a trade for Serge Ibaka last offseason.”

Thunderous Intentions thinks it’s a lock that Andre Roberson will re-sign with the Thunder. 

Berry Tramel thinks the Thunder need to focus on back-up point guard in free agency: “The Thunder protected Westbrook’s minutes last season — he averaged 34 a game, even though it had to tempt Billy Donovan to play Westbrook 44 a night — and that needs to continue. But the less strain Westbrook has to exert on the offensive end, the more he could exert on the defensive end.”

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