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Friday Bolts – 2.24.17

Friday Bolts – 2.24.17

Jon Hamm for Bleacher Report: “As a result, OKC keeps nearly $5 million of the exception

alive through November; It can be used to facilitate future trades if needed. The Thunder also retain a smaller so-called “Room Exception” worth around $2 million for the rest of the regular season. They have long planned to keep this exception available, and it could help them bid for players who are bought out between now and March 1. In essence, the Thunder have acquired Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis, Grant—and now McDermott and Gibson—by trading Ibaka.”

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “If Gibson is just a rental, the price isn’t terrible, particularly because the Thunder retain McDermott and get a second-round pick. But the upside for Oklahoma City this season is limited. I don’t see the Thunder getting any higher than sixth in the West standings, and a first-round matchup against the Houston Rockets isn’t that much more favorable than one against the San Antonio Spurs. Oklahoma City is a long shot to win either series.”

My story on OKC’s trade deadline.

Kevin Draper of Deadspin: “The big get for the Thunder is Taj Gibson. They’ve been starting rookie Domantas Sabonis next to Steven Adams at power forward all season, and while he has shown promise, he also hasn’t been very good. Gibson should slide into that role, forming one of the most hard-nosed front courts in the league, and allowing Sabonis to buoy the bench, which is without Enes Kanter for a little while. McDermott is a fine back-up wing who can shoot the three.”

Haley O’Shaugnessy of The Ringer: “The Thunder’s offense collapses the second Westbrook steps off the court. With Russ playing, Oklahoma City scores 106.6 points per 100 possessions; when he sits, that plummets to 97.2. In 24.5 minutes per game with the Bulls this season, Dougie McBuckets is averaging 10.2 points with an effective field goal percentage of 52. McDermott alone would’ve sold this trade as a positive, but the addition of Gibson gives them a defensive presence underneath the rim. The idea of Gibson and Steven Adams being backed up by Domantas Sabonis and Enes Kanter (when healthy) is encouraging for the postseason. Here’s hoping Gibson and McDermott can grow mustaches.”

Thunder fans welcomed the new additions last night.

KC Johnson of The Chicago Tribune: “That’s what Gibson always did for seven-plus seasons since the Bulls drafted him 26th overall in 2009. Start him, bring him off the bench, whatever his role, Gibson did it. He did it on a value contract extension. Heck, he even played through a torn ligament in his ankle before succumbing to offseason surgery. That’s why eight teams called the Bulls to gauge his trade availability. That’s why Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah sent him texts telling him they loved him. It’s also why his post-trade embrace with executive vice president John Paxson proved so emotional.”

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com: “OKC nabbed a top-flight defensive forward in Taj Gibson without giving up Domantas Sabonis. It added a shooter in Doug McDermott without giving up Alex Abrines or Victor Oladipo. It added a second-round pick for funsies. The Thunder got better in multiple areas and straightened out rotation concerns while not giving up anything more than a backup point guard about to be paid above market value. Sam Presti remains a very good GM.”

Berry Tramel: “The Thunder traded Payne, the 14th pick in the 2015 draft, for McDermott, the 11th pick in the 2014 draft. Payne is a little younger and contractually obligated for one more year than is McDermott, but McDermott possesses a skill, 3-point shooting, that is more valuable to this Thunder team than Payne’s chief asset, playmaking, and McDermott has shown much more of that skill than Payne has shown of his. Gibson helps the Thunder a lot now and maybe for the future, too. Excellent defense, decent offense, consummate professional. A big upgrade over rookie Domantas Sabonis for the stretch drive and any playoff series. If Billy Donovan chooses to start Gibson — and he should — the Thunder starting five becomes an alligator swamp of a defense. Hard to get past a unit of Steven Adams, Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo, Westbrook and Gibson.”