Now That’s Thunder Basketball (NTTB) is going to be at Media Day on Monday. Please check back for more content on what is sure to be an eventful media day.
Sam Amick (USA Today) interviewed Paul George after the Carmelo Anthony trade: “This feels like a championship team,” George told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m in a good place. I know Russ (Westbrook) is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever…You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, (and) we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach (in Billy Donovan), (and) as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”
Weston Shepard (Daily Thunder) with 5 things about the Melo trade: “Could this result in a disastrous train wreck? I mean, yeah. It could. It’s not a perfect union at face value, as three of last season’s top ten isolation scorers now reside in the same starting five. Anthony also comes with a hefty price tag that gives the Thunder a luxury tax bill of $27.8 million. There’s also the whole “Russ, PG, and now Melo can all leave after this season” thing. But at the end of the day — it’s Melo. And because the Warriors still exist, it’s going to take some Hail Mary’s to compete.”
Who said Russell Westbrook doesn’t recruit?: “Westbrook and George reportedly played key roles in convincing Anthony to agree to come play with them. After they did that it was up to the Thunder to get a deal done, and that’s exactly what they did. Now that Anthony is heading to OKC it’ll be up to those three to make it work on the court.”
Moke Hamilton (Basketball Insiders) says it’s all on Westbrook now: “Instead, Durant’s decision to leave was seen as a rebuke to Westbrook, who he is as a player and his style of basketball. At the time, the implication was that Durant didn’t think he could win with Westbrook. For someone as fiery and fierce as he, Durant’s decision to bolt and the subsequent questioning as to the reasons why was the quintessential poking of a bear with a stick. In the end, Westbrook roared. No matter what happens from here, a part of Westbrook’s legacy will be that he averaged a triple-double for an entire season and he was named the Most Valuable Player the year after the one who was deemed to be his Batman abandoned him.”
Dieter Kurtenbach (The Mercury News) on the Thunder becoming the Warriors’ biggest threat: “Is that roster good enough to beat the Warriors? Probably not. But it is good enough to make a seven-game series between the two as interesting as it could get in the Western Conference. The Warriors are still prohibitive title favorites and were 4-to-11 favorites to win the Western Conference before the Melo trade, but rest of the Western Conference continued it’s significant paradigm shift on Saturday.”
Sam Presti put on a clinic on super-team building this offseason: “Kanter and Oladipo, though young and talented, were also signed to large, long-term deals that the Thunder have now wisely gotten off their cap sheets. McDermott and Sabonis, both on their rookie deals, have potential, but their ceilings are certainly questionable. Turning the four of them into two stars — and in the case of George, arguably a top-15 NBA player — is a huge success. The deals also don’t rid the Thunder of all that much depth. Players like Steven Adams, Patrick Patterson, Andre Roberson, and Raymond Felton are all rotation-worthy players who are still in place. The cost of building a super-team is often sacrificing depth — the Thunder have largely avoided that.”
Fred Katz (Norman Transcript) says the Thunder are hoping they got Olympic Melo: “Anthony goes from ball-dominant in the NBA to efficiency-dominant during the Olympics, from dribble-happy to swish-happy. It runs counter to his earned reputation as a ball-stopper. Granted, it’s far easier to knock down shot after shot against Nigeria than it is against the Golden State Warriors. Still, it’s worth noting the way Anthony sticks to his strengths when he’s on a team with talent that he recognizes as elite — even if he’s never actually implemented that style into his NBA habits. The Thunder are hoping he will.”
Jason Concepcion (The Ringer) on Anthony’s legacy in New York: “The no-trade clause you conned Phil into when you re-signed in 2014 is your Pietà. That was Jackson’s undoing. When you became — as everyone knew you would — an impediment to Jackson’s beloved triangle, there was nothing Phil could do. Trapped in a prison of his own design, unable to deal you, Jackson resorted to trashing you in the media. His buddy and alleged personal blogger Charley Rosen took his shots.”
Never changed, Enes!
Several teammates stopped by on Saturday at Kanter’s last kids’ camp and it was a tear-jerker for those witnessing. (Seriously, I’m going to miss the big guy). This tweet shows Westbrook and Andre Roberson, but Patrick Patterson, Josh Huestis, and fellow ‘Stache Bros. Steven Adams all stopped by.