Friday Bolts: 01.31.20
Chris Paul is an All Star.
Of course, Paul being a good dude and a good teammate, included team-oriented photos in his Twitter post:
CP3’s selection also added to an impressive streak of 11 straight years the Thunder have had an All-Star representative:
Erik Gee (SI.com) writes that Paul’s selection was well-deserved. “Since he heard the news of being dealt from the Rockets for Westbrook, Paul has been a total pro and then some. He’s flown in a designer to fit (and buy) the Thunder for suits, his friendly (not friendly) barbs with Shai Gilgeous-Aleanxder have become the highlight of the post-game locker room media scrums, and he’s helped the Thunder to 29 wins Vegas had the over/under at 31.”
Dennis Schroder attempted to break Thunder Twitter by deleting all of his Instagram posts yesterday, but this is apparently just a regular cleanse:
Schroder also posted on a video of CP3 napping and congratulated him on his ASG selection after the mass-delete, so nothing to see here folks.
In addition to watching Lu Dort’s impressive play on the court, the drama of if and when Dort will receive a NBA contract continues to play out. Dort is currently on a two-way contract, and players on such contracts can only spend 45 days with the NBA-team before they must be extended an NBA contract. The Thunder won’t share the count, so we’re all just waiting for an announcement. For more on Dort and his contract, Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) has a breakdown.
Paul returned after a one-game absence mourning the death of Kobe Bryant, and Erik Horne (THe Athletic) shares how Paul’s Thunder teammates have helped with the grieving. “Levity can often help us cope in the darkest of times, and Paul couldn’t help but smile when he saw Luguentz Dort’s stat line. Paul has been inspired by the Thunder’s youth, and Wednesday was no different… ‘The best thing I could have done was to get out and play,’ Paul said, before a laugh slipped out from behind sadness. ‘Kobe wouldn’t have had it any other way. I actually told Dort toward the end of the game Kobe probably would have been proud of him … because he had 23 points and no assists. Kobe was all about being aggressive and staying aggressive.’
Jonathan Tjarks (The Ringer) says that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a potential cornerstone in the Thunder’s re-positioning. “Gilgeous-Alexander’s development changes the timeline in Oklahoma City. The team is making a surprise playoff push this season, with a 29-20 record and a firm hold on the no. 7 seed out West. FiveThirtyEight gives them a greater than 99 percent chance of making the playoffs. But there would be no point in remaining competitive with a team built around older players, like Paul (34 years old) and Danilo Gallinari (31), who don’t have any room to improve. The Thunder would still have to think about pressing the reset button at the trade deadline and bottoming out. It’s different when they have a 21-year-old with nearly limitless potential on their roster.”
The league office issued updated guidance on the salary cap and luxury tax numbers for next season: