Friday Bolts: 01.24.20
The NBA announced All-Star Game starters, but Thunder players were excluded from the list. The Western Conference Starters are:
- Anthony Davis, Lakers
- Luka Dončić, Mavericks
- James Harden, Rockets
- LeBron James, Lakers
- Kawhi Leonard, Clippers
On the Eastern Conference side, Trae Young, from Norman, Oklahoma, earned his first selection in just his second year. The Thunder take on Young and his Atlanta Hawks tonight.
Chris Paul finished 9th in the voting, but remains a strong candidate for a coach’s selection as a reserve. John Hollinger (The Athletic) thinks Paul deserves a reserve spot. “One of the most unexpectedly fun things about this season has been watching the Point God return as an older, wiser version of his old self and torture opponents while leading a thin Oklahoma City team to the playoffs. He’s scoring more than he did as James Harden’s sidekick in Houston a year ago, and upped his shooting percentage from last year’s disappointing 41.9% all the way to 48.1% this season. At 34, Paul is hitting 54.4% on 2s, which is on pace for a career high.”
Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) reports that the Mavericks and 76ers are interested in trading for Danilo Gallinari. “Danilo Gallinari stands out as an option. Multiple playoff teams have expressed interest in the Thunder forward, including the Mavericks and Sixers, according to league sources. Gallinari is a potent scorer everywhere on the court, in any play type—whether he’s posting up, isolating, or in the pick-and-roll as a screener or ball handler. Though Gallinari, 31, has never been an All-Star, he’s played like one this season in Oklahoma City and last season with the Clippers. Gallinari can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but few teams will have cap space, and most of them will be younger teams unlikely to pursue players in their 30s. The team that retains him heading into the summer will have a significant advantage in keeping him since they’ll have his Bird rights, and thus the ability to offer a more lucrative deal. Dallas may not have enough assets to acquire Gallinari if OKC decides to trade him, but he’s a dynamic player whom the team should pursue.”
ClipsNation profiles Steven Adams as a potential trade target for the Clippers. “Unfortunately, every reason for the Clippers to pursue Adams is a reason why Oklahoma City would want to hold on to him. There was some early speculation last summer, when the Thunder moved on from Russell Westbrook and Paul George, that OKC would also look to move Adam’s rather large contract. But led by three former Clippers (Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Danilo Gallinari), the Thunder have managed to impress this season, managing a 24-19 record so far. I think that the Thunder still might look to move Chris Paul, who will turn 35 during this season’s playoffs and has two additional years on his contract, but it makes a lot less sense to part ways with the 26-year-old Adams. In other words, Adams isn’t untouchable for OKC but he also isn’t a guy they’re likely looking to off-load, meaning that the Clippers will have to put together a package with serious value. Due to Adams’ large deal, the Clippers would have to send out quite a bit to bring him in—about $20.6M in outgoing salary.”
Kendrick Perkins (ESPN), on the other hand, thinks the Boston Celtics should make a run at Steven Adams:
Enes Kanter tends to disagree:
Dorian Craft (USA Today) delves into the impressive season Dennis Schroder is having. “Sometimes it feels like Schroder gets lost in the shuffle due to the fact that he has yet to start a game this season. But Schroder is putting together quite a compelling case for Sixth Man of the Year.”
Nick Gallo (OKC Thunder) profiles the friendship between Mike Muscala and Schroder that started when they were rookies but has taken shape in OKC.
Luguentz Dort was out in the community at yesterday’s Thunder Fit Clinic, looking very much like a man who’s nearing a NBA contact:
Not only are the Thunder impressive on the court, off the court the Thunder have been regulars in The Athletic’s NBA Style Power Rankings. CP3 checks in at no. 3 this week, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander lands at no. 4.
Per Dan Feldman (Yahoo! Sports), Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have been receiving the full “star treatment,” much to the chagrin of their teammates. This is somewhat interesting, since the Thunder own approximately 147 of the Clippers’ future draft picks. If the Clippers get it together and win a title, then it’s probably worth it, but the Clips could be a case study in the dangers of dropping the deed to your house into the pot.
David Gardner (Bleacher Report) with a fascinating look at Hasheem Thabeet’s attempt to make an NBA comeback. Gardner mentions that Thabeet had his best NBA years when with the Thunder. “Memphis traded Thabeet to Houston midway through his sophomore season. Houston traded him to Portland a year after that. Portland released him four months after that. He signed with Oklahoma City in the summer of 2012, and it was there that Thabeet says he finally learned how to be a pro. He raced Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to see who could get to practice the earliest and hired a personal chef to manage his nutrition. He enjoyed his best two seasons with the Thunder, but it still wasn’t enough to stick. In August 2014, they traded him to Philadelphia, and he never appeared in another NBA game.”