4 min read

Friday Bolts: 6.8.18

Anthony Irwin (Silver Screen & Roll) recaps Shams Charania’s Paul George comments on the Yahoo Sports NBA podcast: “I think there’s a lot of positivity around it, and I think even around Paul George, there’s a sense he feels like he’s in a good place in Oklahoma City. But things change. There’s different dominoes that’s going to change over these next few weeks. LeBron James is probably the biggest domino that’s going to drop. Until the league gets ahold of what his aspirations are, Paul George can very well decide to stay in Oklahoma City and not wait for what LeBron James is going to do but that’s gonna be a conversation that’s probably going to need to be had privately among both parties.”

RealGM continues recapping Charania’s comments — this time regarding PG13 and Russell Westbrook’s continued friendship: “Paul George has become really close to Russell Westbrook and I think that’s a relationship that you can’t quantify. I think that means a lot for the Thunder franchise. They might be bonding better than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did during Kevin Durant’s free agency. They’re spending a lot of time just, you know, doing what friends do. That could go a long way for Oklahoma City as it goes into July 1.”

Aaron Falk (Salt Lake Tribune) on Donovan Mitchell wanting to recruit Paul George to Utah: “The Jazz front office could potentially clear enough cap space to make a major free agent acquisition this summer. The big name mentioned on the podcast: All-Star forward Paul George, with whom Mitchell has developed a friendship over the past year. “He’s due. I think it’s July 1,” Mitchell said. “I’m definitely going to have that conversation.” Between his own emergence, the defensive prowess of Rudy Gobert and the coaching acumen of Quin Snyder, Mitchell believes the Jazz have plenty to offer free agents. “Why not play with us?” Mitchell said. “You look at how we move the ball. We play with guys who don’t care who scores the most, who rebounds the most. … We play with guys who genuinely want to win.”

Your words sting, LeBron:

Nick Gallo on Russell Westbrook committing to come back better next season: “One particular area of focus for Westbrook, according to Presti, is his three-point shooting. With the way the league has changed and evolved over the course of Westbrook’s 10 years in Oklahoma City, a premium has been placed on the ability to space the floor and be a threat from behind the arc at all five positions. After shooting a career-best 34.3 percent from behind the arc in 2016-17, Westbrook dipped back down to 29.8 percent last season. Presti disclosed that during the season he witnessed Westbrook in the gym late at night honing his three-point shot, and that the team as a whole will benefit in increased catch-and-shoot prowess from their point guard. “You’re talking about a guy that is amongst the best players, if not the best player, in the league,” Presti noted. “It would be easy for him to rely on what he’s done, but he’s not going to do that.”

Erik Horne chatted with Nick Collison about the upcoming Mr. Thunder documentary: “I got a copy recently and showed my parents and they really liked it. I’ve had this opportunity to retire and do some things publicly, but a lot of guys don’t really have that opportunity. I’ve just really wanted to always kind of acknowledge that. For me, this whole thing has been like … all the people in my life have come along with me for this. It’s been a lot of fun to just share with everybody. That was kind of the message I wanted to get out, just what a great time I’ve had with all these people. It’s been a huge part of my life and I’ve just been happy to share it with so many people that have been so good to me for a long time. I hope those people really enjoy it. I think they will.”

Berry Tramel on Kevin Durant’s greatness being nothing new: “Someone asked why Durant couldn’t produce in the playoffs like that while with the Thunder. To which my response was, Durant played like that all the time with OKC. Well, not every game, but a monster game was not out of the norm for Durant. In 2016, there was the 41-point Game 4 against the Spurs, on 14-of-25 shooting. The 33-point, 8-rebound Game 3 against the Warriors, on 10-of-15 shooting. The 37-point, 9-rebound Game 6 closeout against the Spurs, on 12-of-24 shooting. In 2014, the 33-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist Game 1 against the Grizzlies, on 13-of-25 shooting. The 33-point, 8-rebound Game 7 against the Griz, on 12-of-18 shooting. The 39-point, 16-rebound, 5-assist Game 6 closeout against the Clippers, on 12-of-23 shooting. We can keep going.”\

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on Russ & Melo having Vegas odds to be the next caught with burner accounts: “Earlier this season, Kevin Durant admitted to similar activity after he criticized the Thunder and Billy Donovan from his own account that he thought was a different account. Durant said his behavior was “childish” and he apologized for his actions. Now, there have been odds placed on the next player to be caught with a burner account and there are a couple of Thunder players that made the shortlist of players.”

Aja Hoggat (EW) with footage of Paul George and others auditioning for a role in The Equalizer 2: “Ahead of the release of the action sequel The Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua humorously auditioned everyone from Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball to former Superman Dwight Howard for the title role, and EW has exclusively secured the blooper reel. Also showing their acting chops in the video are WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith — whom Washington singles out as “a real ball player” — Isaiah Thomas, Victor Oladipo, Paul George, Joel Embiid, and Manu Ginóbili (proudly representing ballers 40 and over).”

Around the League: Bryan Colangelo is done in Philadelphia…. Inside the most devastating quarter in sports — Golden State’s third quarter…. Kevin Durant said he’s returning to the Warriors next season…. KD had to be held back from a heckler outside of his Cleveland hotel after Game 3…. Chris Bosh thinks LeBron will join the Rockets this summer…. Donald Trump says there will be no White House visit for the NBA champions.