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Friday Bolts: 7.6.18

The Thunder released its Summer League roster: “The Thunder’s summer league team will play a minimum of five games, starting with three preliminary contests from July 6-10. The teams will then be seeded in the tournament, which starts on July 11 and concludes with the Championship Game on July 17. Oklahoma City’s summer league roster includes Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson and center Dakari Johnson, along with PJ Dozier and Daniel Hamilton and 2018 draft picks Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey. Members of the Thunder’s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, Michael Carrera, Michael Cobbins, Justin Leon and Rashawn Thomas are also on the roster. Mark Daigneault, head coach of the Oklahoma City Blue, will lead Oklahoma City’s summer league entry with Thunder assistant coach Vin Bhavnani serving as associate head coach.”

Brett Dawson on Terrance Ferguson and the new draft picks headlining the Summer League team: “Terrance Ferguson and Dakari Johnson are the most familiar faces on the Thunder’s Summer League roster, but there are plenty of names to know. The roster, including Thunder players Ferguson and Johnson, was released Thursday morning. Oklahoma City opens play in the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday. Second-round draft picks Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey also are on the Thunder’s roster. Hall is a 6-foot-5 guard from Virginia. Hervey, a 6-foot-9 forward, played at UT Arlington. The Thunder agreed to acquire a third second-round pick, Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo, in a trade with the Charlotte Hornets. Because that’s part of a larger deal that will send Dwight Howard from Charlotte to Brooklyn, that trade can’t be completed until Friday, the first day current NBA players can be traded. Diallo could join the Thunder for Summer League once the trade has cleared.”

Erik Horne on why Devon Hall opens Summer League with a shot at a roster spot: “The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder spent five years in Charlottesville developing from a three-star prospect to an NBA draftee. Rather than use its two second-round picks to trade up into the draft two weeks ago, the Thunder stayed put and selected Hall 53rd overall. As a senior at Virginia, Hall averaged 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. From his junior to senior year, Hall experienced big spikes in his shooting splits, posting field goal/3-point/free throw percentages of 45.2/43.2/89.4, increases of five points or more in each category. “I know it was a big jump, but it was an uncommon work ethic,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett told The Oklahoman. “You watch him before practice, after practice, he had a routine. He was workmanlike or a pro in terms of his approach in practice, pre-practice and his shooting. He absolutely wore out his mechanics, shot and practice habits in the right way.”

Eric Pincus (B/R) on why taxes will force the Thunder to part ways with Carmelo Anthony: “The solution may be simple: They can waive the veteran forward and stretch his salary out over three seasons at $9.3 million a year. Perhaps Anthony would accept a buyout worth the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million, which he would be able to find elsewhere with a contending team looking for scoring (maybe to join LeBron James in Los Angeles). If so, that stretched number would dip to $8.5 million a season, and its impact on the Thunder’s 2018-19 payroll would be massive. In addition to the $19.4 million dip in what they would pay Anthony over the next year, Oklahoma City would save nearly the equivalent amount in repeater taxes. The team’s total payroll would drop to about $140 million. More significantly, the progressive tax would fall to just $33 million. In total, the Thunder would be paying only $49 million in tax, with a total payroll of $189 million. That’s still huge, but it’s $122 million cheaper than it would be to pay Anthony to stay. Is any player worth that much for one season?”

Jerry Bembry (Undefeated) on Scissorhands — the OKC barber that “broke” the news of Paul George’s return: “When the man behind the tweet, Corey “Scissorhands” Sutter, opened his shop the next day, he noticed an uptick in likes and shares of that post. Feeling right nice about the attention, Sutter dropped a bomb on Saturday afternoon. That tweet quickly picked up steam, and was shared at a frenetic pace with speculation that Paul George would stay in Oklahoma City. Here’s why: The barber always knows. And people made the connection of Sutter being George’s barber as a photo of the two together began to spread. Thus began Sutter’s rise to fame, achieving a media place during the opening weekend of NBA free agency that’s usually occupied by the likes of Adrian Wojnarowski, David Aldridge and Marc J. Spears. That night George, with Russell Westbrook at his side at an event where Nas performed, announced, “I’m here to stay.”

Berry Tramel on how keeping Raymond Felton was a good move for the Thunder: “Felton was a godsend for the Thunder last season, as Russell Westbrook’s backup point guard. Every team ought to be able to find a quality backup point guard, but that doesn’t mean every team does. The Thunder didn’t, in 2016-17, when Cameron Payne was banged up (and eventually traded) and the Thunder down the stretch had Semaj Christon or Norris Cole backing up Westbrook. Felton signed on last summer and was an excellent addition to the squad. Veteran leadership. Wise counsel. Plus a solid player who could play a little defense and quite a bit of offense. Felton shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range and took the fourth-most 3’s on the team. No one saw that coming. Felton might have been the most consistent player at Billy Donovan’s disposal. You always knew what you were getting with Felton.”

OKCThunder.com revisits some of the most thrilling playoff moments in a decade of Thunder basketball: “There have been too many incredible shots to count during the Thunder postseason timeline, but the team’s come-from-behind victories certainly stand out. In 2012, there were the 13-point, fourth-quarter deficits in Game 4 against Dallas (first round) and in Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers (second round). That same year, in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, the Thunder rallied from an 18-point deficit to clinch a trip to the Finals. The most iconic of all the comebacks, however, came in 2014, in Game 5 against the LA Clippers. The Thunder trailed nearly the entire game, falling behind by as many as 15 on its home court and down seven, 104-97, with 49 seconds to play. The resiliency of the team was on full display as the Thunder closed the game on an 8-0 run that included three of the gutsiest, no-fear free throws by Russell Westbrook with 6.4 seconds to play that put the Thunder ahead to stay.”

Scott Horner (Indy Star) on Victor Oladipo questioning himself after trade to Pacers: “Getting traded two years in a row might make you ask, is it me?  Victor Oladipo faced those doubts last summer after he was sent to the Indiana Pacers by the Oklahoma City Thunder. The previous year, the Orlando Magic traded him to OKC. “Being traded twice in a year is tough, almost to the point where you start questioning what kind of basketball player you are,” he said Thursday on ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show. “I was at that point. It was tough. I use that as motivation in my workouts and trying to improve myself to prove people wrong and prove myself right.” While he said he “won’t forget” the terms of those trades, he said he didn’t feel compelled to prove the Pacers “won” the deal that brought Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis in exchange for Paul George.”

Around the League: The Grayson Allen era is officially underway in Utah…. Allen & Trae Young were hit with double-technicals after a scuffle at Summer League…. Marcus Smart is reportedly “disgusted” after not hearing from the Celtics…. Zach Lowe reviews possible trades for Kawhi Leonard…. Is the Sixers window smaller than we thought?…. Which team will rule the post-LeBron East?…. Grades for every deal in free agency.