Friday Bolts: It's Here
The season kicked off on Wednesday with an opening night loss to the playoff-worthy Minnesota Timberwolves, but before the season could get started, the Thunder had to get their roster in order.
Every player involved in the OKC-HOU blockbuster has now been released by both teams, with Oklahoma City waiving David Nwaba, Trey Burke, and Marquese Chriss this past Monday.
In other transactional notes, the Thunder picked up the options for Josh Giddey, Tre Mann, and Aleksej Pokusevski.
With expectations of another lottery-bound season, and no Chet Holmgren, TNT dropped OKC's only non-NBA TV national TV game which was set for November 1 against the Magic. Originally, the game was billed as a match-up between the No. 1 overall pick, Paolo Banchero, and Holgren, the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
In addition to the loss, OKC didn't escape without a second loss, as Jalen Williams suffered an eye injury. There hasn't yet been an update on his status aside from Williams's Instagram post showing quite the shiner.
On a new episode of The Boardroom, former Thunder player Kevin Durant talked a little about Chet Holmgren and came to the defense of former Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Olgun Uluc, of ESPN's NBL page, broke down the expectations for 10 Australian players (and one kiwi--wonder who that is). On Josh Giddey, Uluc said: "What Giddey has shown over the preseason has been without Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor, so whether he can continue to produce in the same way is yet to be seen. If he can show an expanded scoring repertoire - especially the jumpshot - and consistency on the other end, then Giddey's second year in the NBA would be regarded as a success, notwithstanding how his team performs."
So, Deadspin, a carcass of what was once a respectable sports commentary site, examined Sam Presti's recent performance as the Thunder's GM. "But if you lament Presti’s pros, you must also admit his flaws, something fragile Thunder fans have trouble doing. Perhaps it’s because Thunder fans are the youngest fanbase in the NBA, considering the franchise has only been around since 2008. They have yet to know true losing, and their naivety blinds them to the fleeces Presti has been prone to giving up in trades. Like when Presti traded Rubio and the 25th and 28th picks in the 2020 draft to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the 17th overall pick, where he chose the inept and athletically impotent Pokuševski, missing out on the picks that would become Immanuel Quickley (25th) and Jaden McDaniels (28th), two players better than Poku. Or when he broke up the overachieving 2020 playoff team and got back underwhelming packages for almost every single player, including trading future HOF guard Chris Paul for a goofy return of players who have since all left OKC for minimal return and a 2022 draft pick (30th) they also traded away. At this point, after Paul dragged an overachieving bunch of role players to the playoffs, Presti essentially received nothing in return."