3 min read

Monday Bolts – 6.20.16

Monday Bolts – 6.20.16

Berry Tramel: “And patriotism is no answer. Sorry, but the idea that the U.S. basketball


team somehow lifts the spirits of a nation, somehow proves American superiority, is downright silly. We’ve got the majority of the world’s best basketball players, and we don’t need an Olympic tournament to prove it. We’ve got a great country, no matter what the office-seekers say, and medals of gold, silver and bronze don’t change that. The Olympics are great fun to watch and follow. They must be incredible to experience as an athlete. But for NBA stars, are they worth the hassle, much less the risk? Russell Westbrook is skipping Rio, and I can’t blame him. As a consumer of Oklahoma City basketball, I have to admit, I wish Kevin Durant would join Westbrook in sitting out these Olympics.”

Sam Presti: “I have no insight into what Kevin’s decision ultimately will be, and I can’t speak to what the actual process might be — that’s for him and his representation to determine,” Presti said. “Obviously we’ll be taking part in it and taking our cues there. But as I said earlier, I think for us it’s an opportunity to be pretty excited about, quite frankly, to really get excited about and lean into because we have the opportunity to sit down with not only a player but a person that has really defined the Thunder, and I would say Oklahoma City for that matter as well, for the better part of a decade. And at the same time, it’s also someone that we know and that knows us and that we communicate with over a long period of time.”

Chad Ford with a draft day, uh, trade idea: “OKC came incredibly close to knocking off the Warriors this year, but once again, the Thunder fell short. Assuming Kevin Durant agrees to a short-term deal to return, the Thunder have to do everything they can to try to win a title before facing the possibility of both KD and Russell Westbrook leaving in the summer of 2017. Cousins is a huge risk. Talent wise, he’s a major upgrade. But his character would test the Thunder’s culture. If he would buy in, they’d be the favorites to win it all. But it’s a big if.”

KD still is in for Rio.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider on the Warriors: “A relatively quiet offseason. The Kevin Durant dream should be dead now, and I don’t see any other free agent the Warriors could add as being worth the necessary hit to their depth and chemistry. I think Golden State matches a max offer to Barnes, re-signs Ezeli and maybe tweaks around the margins to get more shot creation in the second unit.”

Erik Horne on Nick Collison: “Those opportunities might not be as frequent this upcoming season, particularly if McGary progresses and the Thunder plays more of its small lineups which were successful in the playoffs. In preseason, Thunder general manager Sam Presti included Collison in a core five of Adams, Ibaka, Durant and Russell Westbrook, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that Collison is thinking about life after basketball. With one year remaining on his contract at $3.75 million, Collison hasn’t made a decision on if he’ll play beyond 2017. He wants to spend more time with his 10-year-old daughter. With age comes different priorities.”

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com: “Superstars drive free agency, and this summer Durant will be the guy with pole position. Theoretically, there isn’t a team in the league that won’t have Durant as its No. 1 target, but practically only a select few are likely to get a meeting with the 2014 MVP. And it’s quite possible the cavalry will be an audience of one — his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

Erik Horne on the rising cap: “That boost could either help the Thunder avoid the tax altogether (which they’ve paid the last two seasons) or lessen the bill. The Thunder paid the tax the last two seasons, so avoiding it this upcoming season would give them at least a year of not having to pay a repeater tax. Teams are docked a repeater tax when they exceed the luxury tax in three of four seasons. Those savings could be critical in a summer of 2017 when the Thunder will have to possibly re-sign Russell Westbrook, Durant (again), Serge Ibaka, Andre Roberson and Steven Adams.”