The Oklahoma City Thunder head into the March 1st buy-out deadline with an empty roster spot and several needs. Before we head any further into this article, there are a few things you might need to know about the buy-out market. First off, no team is acquiring a superstar via the buy-out market. In fact, it’s always questionable whether the player being obtained will even be that much of a difference maker. Buy-out signings are usually veterans the acquiring team hopes will make a small incremental difference in the positive direction for and during a playoff run.
For the Thunder, their recent buy-out signings over the past few seasons have been Norris Cole, Nazr Mohammed, Caron Butler, and Derek Fisher. These were veterans that weren’t necessarily useless, but also weren’t game changers moving forward. Fisher filled a role as a back-up point guard during the Finals run of 2012. Butler was important in the first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014, but his importance decreased with each successive series. Mohammed was more of a locker room/veteran presence during Durant’s final season in Oklahoma City. And last season, Cole was brought in be a better option at back-up point guard than Semaj Christon, but neither totally worked out. Continue reading Sales Rack Shopping: The Thunder and the buy-out market→
With their minds on their fallen comrade and playing their third game in four nights, the Oklahoma City Thunder took to the court on Sunday with heavy legs and heavier hearts. If their previous meeting with the Philadelphia 76ers was any indicator, the Thunder knew this would be a 48 minute (or 63 minute) kind of game.
A lot of the first quarter was focused on the interactions between Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook, who had a little bit of a spat at the end of their first meeting in Philadelphia earlier this season. It didn’t disappoint early on as Embiid had a clean drive to the basket after losing Steven Adams on the perimeter and had only Westbrook in between himself and the basket. Westbrook tried to take a charge, but Embiid went up and created a poster. The rest of the first quarter was back and forth affair with the Thunder taking a two point lead heading into the second. Paul George paced the Thunder in the first frame with 13 points on 4/8 shooting from the field. Continue reading Thunder beat the Sixers 122-112 on the second night of a back to back→
Jimmy Do (OKCThunder.com) looks at Paul George’s Christmas party for stroke awareness: “Through the Paul George Foundation, the friendly zap session was part of the fun and games at Main Event Entertainment during the inaugural PG Christmas Celebration for seven local families with stroke survivors. With a red Santa hat sat cocked atop his head, George arrived with a large bag full of gifts slung over his shoulder doing his best impersonation of Jolly Old St. Nick.”
Erik Horne (NewsOK) on Paul George finding his rhythm: “Throughout the game we know Russ is going to push the tempo, really create all the mismatches with his aggressiveness and attacking the floor,” George said. “But yeah, if I get going early, especially being a shooter out there, it’ll only open up the game for all of us.” George has found a rhythm early in games for the Thunder so far, one which could be a boon for a Thunder team feeling out who shoots when this season.”
Tim Cato (SB Nation) on how the team’s culture actually became it’s saving grace: “For the Thunder, this didn’t take years. It took one summer. After Durant’s departure, the Thunder doubled down on Russell Westbrook and let him run rampant for an MVP. It was delightful, but an inevitable first-round defeat followed. They were a team built for two stars in a league that demands several of them, and Westbrook was but one. From atop the franchise, general manager Sam Presti preached patience. “We feel really good about the momentum that’s been created,” Presti said at the Thunder’s exit interviews last May. “We’re trying to do something here that I don’t think there’s a ton of examples of in the NBA.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 13 Oct 2017→
NBA.com previews the Oklahoma City Thunder: “Whoever had Oklahoma City in the George trade pool should go immediately to Las Vegas and bet heavy. Almost out of nowhere, the Thunder emerged as winners in the George sweepstakes and one year after losing Durant have added a star to side next to Westbrook. Not only did OKC pull it off, nudging aside other suitors such as the Cavs and Celtics and Lakers, but the price was surprisingly low. The Thunder surrendered Oladipo, a good but not spectacular guard that they foolishly paid like a superstar two summers ago, and Sabonis, their 2016 No. 1 pick who was inconsistent. The trade surprised many observers given what it cost OKC, and even if George turns out to be a one-year rental, it’s no big deal.”
If you’re into fantasy basketball, here’s your guide to the Thunder: “Thanks to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason moves, Westbrook may have trouble replicating his league-winning impact from last season. Rather than playing alongside a marginalized Victor Oladipo in the backcourt, he’ll now have an All-Star teammate in the form of Paul George and a grizzled veteran in Patrick Patterson accompanying Steven Adams in the frontcourt. While OKC likely boosted its chances of a deep playoff run with its roster makeover, Westbrook should have less on his plate offensively this season.” Continue reading Daily Thunder Rumblings – 11 September 2017→