5 min read

Monday Bolts: 6.4.18

Sam Friedman (Daily Knicks) on Royal Ivey reportedly joining the Knicks’ coaching staff: “Royal Ivey is set to join the New York Knicks as an assistant coach under head coach David Fizdale. Ivey is coming off of an assistant coaching gig with Oklahoma City Thunder that spanned two seasons. He trained under Fizdale’s tutelage in Atlanta, so this will hopefully turn into a beautiful reunion. Ivey is a New York native. He grew up in Harlem, which automatically makes him more beloved in New York. He went to Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, which is in Bayside, Queens. During his tenure in Queens, he lead his team to the Class A championship.  He then transferred to Blair Academy in New Jersey. Post high school, Ivey took his talents to the University of Texas at Austin, where he’s the active leader in starts for the Longhorns. The Atlanta Hawks selected Ivey with the 37th overall selection in the 2004 NBA Draft.”

Tyler Conway (B/R) on Steven Adams and interesting social media behavior: “I think we can all agree the Carmelo Anthony experiment in Oklahoma City has been a failure. You know who else agrees? Steven Adams, apparently. The Thunder big man liked an Instagram comment saying “all of them except Melo” were OKC’s most valuable stars, referring to himself, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.  Welp. Of course, this could easily be explained away. In April, Kevin Durant said his like of a comment calling former teammate Westbrook the “problem” in Oklahoma City was an accident. Adams could probably do the same here and have everyone move on. If Adams did purposefully like the comment, though, he doesn’t seem like the type to back down. Adams is famously blunt with the media in his charming New Zealand manner. He doesn’t pull punches, and when he throws them, they land.”

Erik Horne with key Thunder dates to watch this summer: “June 29: Deadline to exercise option years. How it affects the Thunder: Both Carmelo Anthony ($27.9 million) and Paul George ($20.7 million) have player options for the 2018-19 season. George is expected to decline his option and test free agency. Anthony’s option is an Early Termination Option which he’d have to decline in order to become a free agent. The Thunder is willing to pay George the maximum salary starting at $30 million next season and it’ll know by this date how much it has to pay should George return to OKC.”

Dan Favale (B/R) on why the Thunder should chase Joe Harris this offseason: “Joe Harris would be a stud acquisition if he doesn’t cost more than the mini MLE. He is everything the Thunder don’t have around their stars—an accessory scorer who neither needs nor demands the ball and doesn’t debilitate your defense. More than half of Harris’ looks came as spot-up threes last season, on which he shot 41.7 percent. Getting him to move away from the action won’t be like pulling teeth. He’s a willing, albeit oft-uninspiring, off-ball slasher, and he averaged more points per possession than George when coming around screens. Harris has even worked in some situational off-the-dribble pizzazz. He’s not an aspiring one-on-one slayer, but he’s comfortable pump-faking into straight-line attacks. He shot a blistering 62.7 percent on drives—tops among 167 players to churn through at least four of these possessions per game.”

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on the Thunder’s pre-draft interest in Anfernee Simons: “The Thunder haven’t been linked to many prospects in the NBA Draft, but they have reportedly shown interest in Anfernee Simons. Simons, who will turn 19 this month, is considered one of the most athletic guards in this year’s draft. He spent his postgraduate year at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and recently opted to forego his collegiate eligibility to enter the draft… He projects to be a player that will need ample time to develop. He weighed in at 183 pounds at the Combine with 7.7 percent body fat. He’ll need to bulk up in order to withstand the test of guarding opposing guards in the league as he is very undersized. With the Draft now less than three weeks away, his stock seems to be falling. He was projected to be drafted at No. 21 by ESPN in early May, but he is now projected to be taken at No. 38. In fact, most mock drafts now have Simons being drafted early in the second round.”

Timothy Rapp (B/R) on Vegas’ 2018-19 NBA Finals odds: “According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the Warriors are listed as 5-4 favorites. After the Warriors, the Houston Rockets (7-2), Philadelphia 76ers (7-2) and Boston Celtics (8-1) are listed as the most likely 2018-19 champions… Meanwhile, Vegas either believes Paul George will depart the Oklahoma City Thunder (60-1) or doesn’t believe the trio of Paul, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony is the right formula.”

Erik Horne on Madeleine Chapman — the ghostwriter of Steven Adams’ autobiography: “When Adams went to Notre Dame Preparatory in Fitchburg, Mass., for a semester, then to the University of Pittsburgh in 2012, Chapman instead enrolled at the University of Auckland. Their paths crossed again in 2016, when Adams returned to Wellington for a basketball camp. “I thought I’d go and cover the camp and see if I could get an interview from him,” Chapman said. “He said ‘Yep, that’s fine.’ We didn’t end up doing the interview, but he kind of sent me a message on Facebook later.” In that message, Adams asked Chapman if she’d ever written a book. “I said, ‘No, I haven’t, but I think I could,’ … because I had a feeling he was sort of leading somewhere with the question.”

Rexwell Villas (Clutchpoints) on Russell Westbrook winning the NBPA’s “Side Hustle” award: “Russell Westbrook’s star shines both on and off the court. On the court, he’s a ball of electricity, one who’s able to do whatever he wants with no one seemingly capable of stopping him. Off the court, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard still commands attention and warrants the limelight, thanks to his flashy fashion and numerous enterprises. And for those reasons, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has bestowed upon Russell Westbrook The NBPA Best Side Hustle Award.”

Jack Maloney (CBS Sports) with KD’s comments about why he signed with the Warriors: “At that time in my career, I didn’t know how other people felt about my game. And I knew that I was pretty damn good and I knew I worked extremely hard, but I needed that validation from my peers and teams and GMs, people that are really into the game, to really help me feel good about myself and help me feel confident and let me know that what I was doing was working. So when they all came, and they all put stuff to the side to come to the meeting, I was like, man, this is amazing. Best team in the league, some of the best players, most accomplished players want me on their team and want what I do, what I bring to the table. It was pretty cool, you know what I’m saying? Because I’m looking at this whole basketball thing from a kid’s perspective. I’m still excited, I’m still learning. So to have that much love in the room for how I play basketball, that’s cool. They’ll get to know me as a person, I was confident with that. But the basketball side, I was, like, man it’s pretty damn cool that people enjoy the way I play and want me to play with them.”

Around the League: The Warriors are up 2-0 in the NBA Finals…. Steph’s historic night was a flashback to pre-KD days…. LeBron is frustrated but not defeated…. The Warriors are up in arms about where Kendrick Perkins keeps his legs on the sideline…. Steve Kerr trolled LeBron after Game 2…. Warriors fans gave JR Smith a standing ovation…. The NBA will test a new approach to replay during Las Vegas Summer League…. How signature sneakers are taking over the NBA.