Monday Bolts: 01.20.20
ICYMI: Cray Allred recaps the Thunder’s loss to the Miami Heat … Brandon Rahbar recaps OKC’s win against the Portland Trailblazers … Andrew Schlect joins Rahbar and Rachael Jamison on the Daily Thunder Podcast
Maddie Lee (The Oklahoman) gives five takeaways from Friday night’s loss to the Heat … Joe Mussatto (The Oklahoman) shares five takeaways from Saturday’s win against the Blazers.
Pat Heery (Yardbarker) says it’s time to stop talking about Chris Paul trades, because he belongs with the Thunder. “CP3 has accomplished the unthinkable over the past six months, dragging his trade value from the Seventh Circle of Hell into a strange purgatory where he could be flipped for an asset or two. But neither he nor OKC seems interested in doing that in 2020 because he’s probably more valuable to the Thunder than he would be to any other team. Paul, who will be 35 by the end of this season, has, at least for this season, become the NBA’s version of Benjamin Button.”
Erik Horne (The Athletic) writes that the Thunder’s play without Danilo Gallinari shows they can still be successful without him. “Gallinari’s impact is evident in how the Thunder’s offense hums with him on the floor (115 points per 100 possessions) compared to when he’s off (100.4). Teams have to respect his 3-point shooting, which opens up additional driving lanes. His 40.9 percent from 3 also gives the Thunder a valuable weapon: They’re always a couple of possessions from blowing a game open or slicing significantly into a deficit. Arguably no one on the team wields such power on offense as Gallinari. But the Thunder are now 6-1 when Gallinari doesn’t play, and those six wins aren’t against a collection of scrubs. Three of their most impressive wins of the season – at Utah on the second night of a back-to-back, at home against the Clippers and at Toronto – came without Gallinari.”
In advance of Friday’s tilt between the Heat and Thunder, Royce Young (ESPN) said that both the Heat and Thunder are better for not consummating the long-rumored trade to send Paul to South Beach. “Regardless, it has been an uplifting season for OKC, one of exceeded expectations where a home loss to a high-caliber team playing .700 basketball qualifies as disappointing. There was an assumption after the Thunder dismantled the top rung of a star-driven roster that they would struggle to crawl out of the cellar of the West, but they are a capable winner themselves at 23-19. Trades are supposed to work for both sides. That’s the idea, anyway; it does not always work out like that. But in this scenario, at least at present, it’s a trade that didn’t happen that has become a win for everyone.”
Per Eric Pincus (Bleacher Report), an unnamed former NBA executive thinks the Clippers should make a play for Steven Adams. “What if, instead, the Clippers turned their attention to the Thunder and Adams? ‘That makes a lot more sense,’ the second former executive agreed. ‘He’s everything the Clippers would need for the playoffs. If the Thunder got Harrell, they’d still be competitive.’ … The Clippers already have a strong working relationship with the Thunder. L.A. general manager Michael Winger previously worked in Oklahoma City under top executive Sam Presti, which was a significant factor in why the talks surrounding the George trade were kept so successfully under the radar. An Adams/Zubac rotation would give the Clippers formidable size against their prospective postseason opponents. They’d lose Harrell’s scoring but improve defensively. If Green remains, he could get time as the team’s small-ball center.”
Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) reports that the NBA plans to put off the vote on the substantial schedule overall that has been proposed. “As the NBA continues to consider dramatic changes to the league calendar, it no longer plans to stage an owners vote in April on a formal plan, league sources told ESPN. The NBA informed its teams on Friday that it wants to continue studying and discussing the three significant items, including an in-season tournament, a play-in tournament and the reseeding of the conference finalists, sources said. The NBA had hoped to have the two-thirds majority needed to make these changes for the 2021-22 season — the league’s 75th anniversary — and still hopes, despite no April vote, that might happen, sources said.”