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Friday Bolts: 5.4.18

Alex Abrines underwent successful surgery for sports hernia: “Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines underwent a successful procedure to address a sports hernia, the team announced today. The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia, Pa. This past season, Abrines appeared in 75 games (eight starts) for the Thunder and recorded averages of 4.7 points while shooting .380 percent from three-point range (84-221 3FGs) to go along with 1.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes. Abrines is expected to miss six weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.”

Fred Katz on Jerami Grant being the key to the Thunder’s potentially massive luxury tax bill: “Is Jerami Grant worth $45 million? The Thunder might have the answer that question this summer, when Grant becomes an unrestricted free agent. And though he’s far from the biggest name coming off the Thunder’s books — considering Paul George’s contract runs up, as well — he might be the most interesting. A George return could could mean massive luxury tax payments for Oklahoma City. And not just because of his potential salary, but also because of the ones added on around him — including Grant’s, which many around the league believe could be in the realm of the mid-level exception, which projects to be a bit above $8 million for 2018-19.”

Bianca Tan (International Business Times) on Shaq’s belief that Paul George will be a Laker: “If Shaquille O’Neal is to be believed, Paul George and LeBron James are headed to Los Angeles. The NBA Hall-of-Famer revealed during a recent podcast that he believes the duo will sign with the Lakers next season, finally giving LA a chance at entering the NBA Finals again. During an episode of his podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” the Lakers legend claimed that the Paul George – Lakers transfer will come to fruition by next season. O’Neal also said he believes LeBron James will be making a move to LA as well. “I think Paul George…He’s definitely going to the Lakers. Him and LeBron. You heard it here first,” Shaq said on Thursday’s podcast. O’Neal, however, clarified that his claims are just his opinions. But given his presence as a former Lakers superstar, his opinions may be based on inside information that have not been made public.”

We’re doing this already: She just turned 4 this week — that’s not even to kindergarten yet. Nothing to see here.

Grant Chapman (Newshub NZ) on the latest attempts to get Steven Adams to play for the New Zealand national team: “The Thunder’s early loss may yet be the Tall Blacks’ gain, as national men’s basketball coach Paul Henare begins his latest pitch to lure Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams into the black singlet for the first time. Oklahoma City were eliminated from playoff contention last weekend, upset in the first round by the upstart Utah Jazz, suddenly leaving Adams with a little extra off-season time on his hands. The seven-foot centre has never played for his country at senior level – as a teenager, he look the NZ under-17 team to the verge of a series win over Australia. But Adams has often assured his fans that when the time is right, he would love to do so. With a few extra weeks to recover from his exhausting 82-game regular season (plus six playoff outings) and midway through a four-year/US$100 million contract with the Thunder, the timing may not get any better.”

Haley O’Shaughnessy (Ringer) says Steven Adams is a possible offseason trade candidate: “Whatever hope OKC has to keep George, who will almost certainly opt out of his current contract this summer to become a free agent, seems to shrink by the hour. Multiple reports have already surfaced that George is “gone” and wants to be Playoff P somewhere else. (After averaging 24.7 points on 20 field goal attempts, 36.5 percent from 3, and four turnovers per game—was he really Playoff P at all?) If George goes, Billy Donovan will have a similar issue on his hands as he did during Westbrook’s MVP season: Russ will be the only star on the team. (Conveniently, that potential reality is already Westbrook’s default mindset.) Adams is the most attractive piece OKC has to offer in a rebuild around Westbrook. If you’re Adams, look at the bright side: Now you might win a Most Improved Player or MVP award!”

Dave Schilling (B/R) on what’s inside the tiny bags NBA stars carry around: “Perennial fashion magnate Russell Westbrook is seemingly rarely photographed without his dopp kit by his side. During the season, he lent his name to a line of bright red Tumi luggage and even posted about what’s in his toiletry bag. Russ also brings the bags to his postgame press conferences. After the Thunder’s Game 3 loss to Utah in their first-round series, Russ sauntered up to the podium with his Tumi bag, all smiles and oddly cheery. Was it an advertisement or a statement? Maybe it was something else. Russ’ teammate, Jerami Grant, says he has often dared to nab specific items from his brodies’ bags when they aren’t looking. “I steal stuff out of Ray (Felton)’s bag,” Grant says. “There’s a certain body butter that I like to use on my skin, and also beard oil. Usually, either Russ or Melo” — Carmelo Anthony also makes heavy use of a dopp kit, his being a black and orange Burberry bag—”has the best lotion. So I’ll snag it from them. Whoever’s got the best deodorant. I like to use Axe … Each guy’s got their own certain thing that I take a piece from.”

Aaron Falk (Salt Lake Tribune) on the Jazz asking fans to show more restraint after the Russell Westbrook incident: “NBA officials have not been in touch with the Jazz regarding Westbrook’s remarks. The Jazz, however, plan to bolster their message regarding appropriate fan behavior ahead of Friday’s game in Salt Lake. The team plays a video announcement regarding fan behavior before each game. After Westbrook’s remarks, team officials decided to update that video to include remarks from coach Quin Snyder and some of the team’s players. “It’s not anything that’s dramatically different,” Starks said. “It’s just reminding people that you don’t have to tear anybody down to pump up our team.”

Around the League: LeBron and the Cavs are up 2-0 on Toronto…. Boston has a 2-0 lead on Philadelphia…. David Fizdale will become the head coach of the Knicks…. With the return of Steph Curry, the Warriors are unstoppable again…. The new age of the NBA is on full display…. Dear, Drake — shut up or leave…. Patrick Beverley’s mom won a car on The Price is Right.