Monday Bolts: 9.23.19
Brett Dawson (The Athletic) asks whether the Thunder can, or even should, chase the playoffs this season: “Oklahoma City views (Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) as a head start on the road to relevance, and having a player the Thunder see as a long-term successor at point guard minimizes the draft pressure at a critical position. It’s one of many reasons — along with the stockpile of a future picks and a lottery that more evenly weights non-playoff teams’ chances at top-three spots — that OKC is under no pressure to tank immediately. Still, there’s a school of thought that the Thunder are best served by losing now, by jumping into the lottery and getting their first crack at top talent as quickly as possible. There are easy ways to get there.”
Berry Tramel (The Oklahoman) talked with Billy Donovan about keeping his cool through yet another tumultuous Thunder offseason: “Donovan reeled off the summer winds he’s navigated. Durant. The Ibaka/Oladipo trade. The PG/Oladipo deal. The arrival of Carmelo Anthony. The departure of Carmelo. A high-profile revolving door has been the Thunder standard for almost half a decade. “I think you’re always in the NBA dealing with different roster changes and those kind of things,” Donovan said. Donovan talks with the same vernacular and emotion he did when the Thunder seemed to be a championship contender. He doesn’t even realize his killer-crossover move, talking about the emotion of going into a season without veteran point guard – wait for it — Raymond Felton.”
Nothing shocking, but I believe this was the first public confirmation from a team representative that Felton will not be signing with the Thunder this season.
Erik Horne (The Oklahoman) relays some thoughts from a handful of people on Chris Paul, won’t be settling for a losing record: “What’s certain is Paul’s commitment to winning, even if how he’ll mesh in OKC is unknown. Since being traded, Paul has spent four days in Oklahoma City working with teammates. Thunder coach Billy Donovan believes the nine-time All-Star wants to succeed, and it’s also in Paul’s best interest to play well to help his stock. “I think the biggest thing that will be very similar — maybe in a different way, obviously Russell was an unbelievable competitor — I think Chris is an incredible competitor, too,” Donovan told The Oklahoman last week.”
Sam Presti was spotted drumming in Oklahoma City, proving he can still fill more than an NBA roster. Ba dum tss.
Brian Lewis (New York Post) says “the feeling within the league” is that Kevin Durant could return from his Achilles injury in time to play this season. Looks at Thunder game #78. HMMMM.
There’s a new Mrs. Thunder in town:
A great question raised by u/TheBronzeNoble ruined, frankly, by their terrible given answers. We can do better:
Touchy subject alert: The Ringer is putting out a paid podcast called “Sonic Boom: How Seattle Lost Its Team.”
The NBA board of governors unanimously approved those toothier tampering policies, per Tim Reynolds (Associated Press). It’s noteworthy that while the Thunder have sometimes been on a bit of a small market island on some big picture league/cap discussions, there are no indications that they were leading here (even after losing two superstars under the kind of player-driven movement targeted with these measures).
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