Friday Bolts: 5.25.18
Nick Gallo on Russell Westbrook & Paul George being named to All-NBA teams: “They scratched and clawed, battled and fought, and willed the Thunder to victories all season long. Though their season came to an end earlier than they hoped, both Russell Westbrook and Paul George were recognized by the NBA for their impact on the game during the 2017-18 campaign. On Thursday, the league announced that Westbrook earned Second-Team All-NBA honors while George was named Third-Team All-NBA. Being rated amongst the top 15 players in the NBA is always a marker of the type of prowess, productivity and prestige that players and their teams celebrate.”
Brett Dawson on what the Thunder might pay to keep Jerami Grant: “Paul George’s free-agency decision is the Thunder’s swing vote, and most everything hinges on what he chooses to do if, as expected, he opts out of the final year of his contract. In the event George is back, OKC will have one of the league’s most expensive rosters in salary and tax, and the Thunder is prepared to pay for George. Whether it also will shell out to keep Grant is another question, and a trickier one to answer. As front-office analyst Bobby Marks noted on ESPN.com, bringing back Grant “would cost around $53 million in salary and taxes for one year” if George is back.”
Dan Favale (B/R) on the 10 worst salary cap situations in the league: (2) OKC Thunder… Classifying the Oklahoma City Thunder’s cap situation as restrictive would be a compliment. They’ll soar past $150 million in commitments if Paul George stays. Brokering a divorce with Carmelo Anthony—assuming he doesn’t exercise his early-termination option, which duh—ever so slightly softens the blow, but not by much. He’s not one to voluntarily nuke his earning potential. LeBron James himself must be beckoning in a Rockets uniform for Anthony to get antsy enough to help Oklahoma City make a dent in its mushrooming ledger. That, or he could grow weary by midseason and concede a ton of salary to sync up with a contender or team that plans to milk him like the star he no longer is. Even then, the Thunder aren’t escaping the luxury-tax labyrinth.”
Berry Tramel grades Jerami Grant’s 2017-18 season: “Grant was predominantly a perimeter player with the 76ers. He split time last season as a small forward and power forward. This season, Grant was mostly a power forward and even took over the duties as Steven Adams’ backup at center. In 81 minutes this season in which Grant filled in for Adams but played with the other starters, the Thunder outscored opponents 225-188. On the other hand, in the 451 minutes in which Grant and Adams played together, the Thunder had a plus-5.0 rating, outscoring opponents 109.9-104.8 per 100 possessions.”
Shannon Russell (The Athletic) catches up with Semaj Christon: “Christon’s name was finally called with the 55th pick of the 60-man draft. Selected by the Heat, his rights were traded to the Hornets and then to the Thunder. It wasn’t long before he excelled with the Thunder’s Development League affiliate, Oklahoma City Blue, but he missed his Xavier family and tried to watch games from afar as often as possible. “I really didn’t beat myself up about it but it was like, ‘Dang, I could have been playing.’ But, you know, it is what it is. I feel like I learned a lot from it,” Christon said. “I’m happy. If (I had to do it over), I think I’d do it the same.” Christon’s big break with the Thunder came in 2016. He played 64 games with the NBA team, averaging 15.2 minutes, 2.9 points and 2.0 assists as a backup for Russell Westbrook. Everyone had a role on the team, he said, and his was to play defense and get his teammates their best shots. So he did. “I wasn’t complaining. I was fine with it. It’s a job, it’s a business,” Christon said.”
Peter Verry (Footwear News) on the re-release of the Air Jordan Melo II: “Carmelo Anthony quickly became a star in the NBA when he made his pro basketball debut 15 years ago with the Denver Nuggets. And to celebrate the baller’s career, Jordan Brand is set to release a beloved sneaker he wore during his rookie season. The Air Jordan II “Melo” is scheduled to arrive in stores on June 9. The predominantly white sneaker is executed with hits of the Nuggets colors — varsity maize and university blue. The shoe also boasts “Melo” branding on the insoles and inside the tongues.”
Around the League: The Rockets lead 3-2 and need one win for a trip to the Finals…. They might have to do it without Chris Paul…. CP3 is no stranger to playoff injuries…. Draymond Green isn’t worried…. Why the Celtics need a road win in tonight’s Game 6…. How the NBA got its groove back.