Nick Gallo (OKCThunder.com) on Nerlens Noel’s upcoming season of redemption: “This is something I’ve been really wanting my whole life, just to be on a talented team that can really complement my skill set and really show what I’m really about and go out on the court and play my game with no hesitation. Coach Billy has given me the utmost confidence since I’ve been talking to him day by day. Just go out there and play your game. There’s nothing in it besides basketball and just being yourself. I felt really accepted.”
Many went into Thursday’s NBA trade deadline thinking the Oklahoma City Thunder would definitely be buyers in the trade market. When their defensive ace, Andre Roberson, went down with a season-ending patellar tear, many around the league thought Thunder GM Sam Presti would try to find a replacement via trade. While the Thunder didn’t necessarily have a large cache of assets, there was a sense this season would not be business as usual when it came to player transactions.
But, alas, the Thunder decided to stand pat and hold on to the assets they do have and the players currently on the roster. The thing about the trade deadline is that you usually don’t hear about the trades that didn’t get consummated. I’m more than sure that Presti did his due diligence around the league, but either the prices were too high or the cupboards weren’t as stocked as he thought they would be. Continue reading Thunder Trade Postscript→
The trade deadline primers for team blogs are usually released about a week to two before the trade deadline. And I was planning on doing the same, but then I thought to myself, “Hold up. Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti hardly ever makes a trade that isn’t on the day of the deadline. In fact, he’s usually one of those GM’s that’s on the phone making deals until the very last second of the deadline.” With that in mind, I said to myself, “Self, we’re not releasing this article until February 8th (a.k.a. the trade deadline).”
And if you think I spend an inordinate amount of time talking to myself, you may be right. In my defense, I can’t really help it. My internal voice is the “stay thirsty, my friends” Dos Equis guy.
If I had written this article two weeks ago, it would be completely null and void because of the Andre Roberson season-ending injury that occurred 11 days. If I had written this article a week ago, I wouldn’t have seen the general cluster (you know what) the team had become in the five games after the Roberson injury. And if I had written this article before Tuesday night’s thrashing of the Golden State Warriors in their arena, then my judgement could have been clouded by the negativity of the four-game losing streak the Thunder had heading into the Warriors’ game. Continue reading OKC Thunder 2018 Trade Deadline Primer→
Royce Young (ESPN) on the referees missing two calls down the stretch against the Thunder: “The NBA announced Monday that there was one incorrect no-call and noted the officiating crew didn’t see Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau calling for timeout in the final five seconds of the frantic finish against the Thunder that led to Andrew Wiggins’ game-winning buzzer-beater Sunday. Karl-Anthony Towns’ screen on Paul George that freed Wiggins was ruled to have been illegal, based on Towns’ stance being too wide. The report notes that Towns was stationary but his leg was out, which clipped George.”
Jack Maloney (CBS Sports) with a great break-down of the Thunder last 10 possessions in crunch time: “Thus, as Sunday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves went down to the wire, the new-look Thunder were put into a close game for the first time. Last season, there was no debate who would have the ball in the clutch: Russell Westbrook. But with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George — each a No. 1 option used to having the ball down the stretch for his old team — now in town, how they would handle end of game situations was one of the main questions heading into the season.”
This Russell Westbrook/Nikola Jokic thing still has legs: “You mean the Flagrant 2?” said Malone following the game when asked about the incident. “Oh that’s right, they called it a Flagrant 1, I apologize.” “That goes back to last game here, that was sending a message and what I’m proud of with Nikola is that he took it, and it didn’t affect him… I think there was a message trying to be sent, and good for them.”
David Purdum (ESPN) on ESPN’s odds going up with the acquisition of Anthony: “After acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in an active offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s odd have moved from 60-1 to 16-1 to win the 2017-18 NBA championship at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. With George and Anthony joining reigning MVP Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, the Thunder have narrowed the gap with the other top tier of contenders in the Western Conference. The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs are each listed at 15-1 to win the championship at the SuperBook.”