Have you read Olivia Panchal’s feature on Darius Bazley? No? Well, go read it now. Yes? Well, go read it again
The Thunder rocked the league with two transactions yesterday. The first earth-shaking move was the release of two-way player, Devon Hall:
OKC then promptly filled the open two-way spot by signing Kevin Hervey:
Abdel Nader caught fire with five three-pointers against the Sacramento Kings, and the potential key to success was not overthinking his shots, writes Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman). “Nader scored a career-high five 3-pointers. He missed just one shot from beyond the arc, and even that was close. He was OKC’s most reliable 3-point shooter Wednesday, with no other player making more than 3 shots from deep. In his fourth consecutive start due to injuries to Terrance Ferguson (right hip soreness) and Hamidou Diallo (right elbow hyperextension sprain), Nader’s chemistry with the other starters was on display.”
Nick Crain (Forbes) presents four potential trades for Danilo Gallinari. “Oklahoma City also has a ton of leverage in trading Gallinari. He is the type of player that any playoff-caliber team would want on their roster. This presumably will give Presti the ability to field many offers and use them against each other.”
The Miami Heat have long been rumored to be interested in trading for Chris Paul, but D.J. Foster (The Ringer) says the Heat should instead pursue Jrue Holiday. “But with so much of Miami’s success directly tied to having nontraditional playmakers scattered across the floor, how much of Bam Adebayo’s and Justise Winslow’s effectiveness would get neutered by Paul holding court instead? Perhaps more importantly, would a locker room with Paul and Butler be covered in anything other than eggshells for well-meaning but imperfect young players? Even if Miami only had to offer its small army of expiring (or near-expiring) deals without having to sacrifice any substantial future assets, Paul is no longer the overwhelming force guaranteed to move the needle regardless of fit. And you’d also have to look past his injury history and massive long-term deal.”
In case it wasn’t evident that trade season nears, Colin Ward-Henninger (CBS Sports) names Paul as one of 12 players that could be moved after much of the league becomes trade eligible on December 15. “It’s a long shot given his hefty contract, but Paul has proven that he’s still more than capable of legitimate point-guard production. We never thought the Rockets would be able to move Paul’s contract until they traded him for Westbrook, so we can’t rule it out now either. That being said, it’s unlikely.”
Ward-Henninger also lists Gallinari: “For teams who can’t afford Love or don’t want a long-term commitment, Gallinari is a great option. He’s owed about $6 million less than Love this season, making a deal slightly easier to manage, plus Gallinari’s contract is expiring. For teams in need of a stretch-four, Gallo is a knock-down 3-point shooter who will get you 16-18 points per game in his sleep.”
Russell Westbrook makes his return to Oklahoma City on January 10. Not to play basketball, but to host his Why Not? Comedy Show:
Nick Gallo (OKC Thunder) sits down with Paul to break down game film, including his first NBA assist:
A report dropped late yesterday afternoon saying that if Sam Presti wanted to leave, ownership wouldn’t hold him back:
My sense is that it’s highly unlikely Sam Presti would leave. While the organization is run with class, and wouldn’t stand in the way if Presti desired a change, Presti isn’t looking to make a change. A strong relationship between ownership and general manager is a key ingredient for on-court success, and Presti would be hard-pressed to find another team where that kind of relationship could be replicated.
Oh, hey another article about Paul as a trade target. Tom Haberstroh (NBC Sports) also asks whether the Heat should chase after CP3. “As it stands now, the Heat aren’t expected to make a run at Paul, per multiple sources. They like their locker room chemistry and aren’t actively looking to shake it up. More importantly, Paul’s contract complicates Miami’s potential future. Paul will be 35 years old in May and is due $41.4 million next season and will be 37 when he’s due $44.2 million. A glamour market like Miami doesn’t need to make trades to acquire a star. Smaller markets like Utah, Charlotte and Portland do.”
Erik Horne (The Athletic) breaks down the Thunder’s missed opportunities in its loss to the Kings. “Every raucous Kings run Wednesday was met with a timely bucket or a defensive stand — a cluster of 3-pointers, Chris Paul thumping his chest after deflecting a pass off Sacramento’s Buddy Hield. But turn off for an instant and the game can shift swiftly in the NBA.”
Paul, in his role as NBPA President, shut down rumors that Michele Roberts was out as executive director of the player’s union:
Have a link you think is worthy of a bolt? Drop it here.