Happy Monday. The Thunder landed Carmelo Anthony over the weekend, Media Day is today in Oklahoma City, and training camp starts tomorrow. What a time.
Paul George shared his Melo excitement with Sam Amick of USA Today: “This feels like a championship team. I’m in a good place. I know Russ is in a good place. Melo is motivated more than ever… You put us three together, who all have something to prove still, we’re going to be a special team. We have a young group, a lot of talent here, an unbelievable coach, as you see, a front office that’s willing to do whatever it takes to improve the team. It just has all the makeups to be a great organization and a chance to put championships together.”
Thunder championship odds jumped to 16/1 after landing Carmelo: “Back in June, just a few weeks after the Thunder had been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round, they were 66/1 long shots to win the 2017-18 title. Following the George trade, their odds then jumped to 30/1. Now, they have the sixth best odds to lift the trophy next summer, which just goes to show you how fast things can change in this league.”
Royce Young on the Thunder putting the pieces back together: “With a trade complete that brings 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City and sends Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second-round pick to New York, it’s a straightforward narrative to look at where the Thunder were and where they are now. A rise-from-the-ashes kind of thing. The organization resists the comeback angle, though. Because that gives credence to the idea that they went anywhere at all.”
Michael Lee (The Vertical) on why Sam Presti and Melo need each other: “Presti and Anthony don’t have time to look back on what could’ve been. All they have is right now, together, with a team that has the talent to be special. Their paths were never intended to cross. Their union will be mystifying for some time. But both are taking a gamble that they got it right this time.”
Jonathan Tjarks (The Ringer) on making OKC’s “Big 3” work: “A willingness to defer is often seen as a weakness in the macho world of the NBA, but it’s crucial to lasting success. Just look at what happened in Cleveland this summer. The days of stars being spread evenly throughout the league are over. This is an era of constellations, not supernovas. Stars who can shine next to other stars are the most valuable players in the game. That’s why George is the key to OKC’s season.”
Russ and PG played a big part in getting Melo to the Thunder: “Westbrook and George reportedly played key roles in convincing Anthony to agree to come play with them. After they did that it was up to the Thunder to get a deal done, and that’s exactly what they did. Now that Anthony is heading to OKC it’ll be up to those three to make it work on the court.”
Ben Golliver (SI) on how Melo bolsters an already talented Thunder roster: “Now, when a playoff series inevitably downsizes, the Thunder can field Patterson flanked by the three stars and Roberson. Or, they can try to go fun-and-gun by pairing two point guards – Westbrook and Raymond Felton—with George, Anthony and Patterson for maximum spacing and offensive upside. Those groups aren’t perfect and they almost certainly won’t be enough to withstand the Warriors’ onslaught in part because of Anthony’s defensive limitations, but overall they’re vast improvements.”
A Knicks superfan writes his farewell message to Carmelo: “Now it’s over. You’re free. You waived your no-trade and are off to join the Thunder and Russell Westbrook and Paul George and Sam Presti’s exquisitely designed and daintily perched glasses in what might be Oklahoma City’s final assault on Fortress Warriors. On paper, it’s the best team you’ve ever played on. I wish you luck. You’re going to need it.”
Isaiah Canaan signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Thunder: “Canaan is expected to compete with Semaj Christon for the third point guard spot on the Thunder, and will report to Oklahoma City on Sunday, league sources said. Canaan and the Thunder finalized an agreement one day after free-agent guard Trey Burke changed course on the same deal with the team.”
Let’s get really weird: “Carmelo Anthony and Paul George have already started recruiting Dwyane Wade to the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to sources.”
A few items from Daily Thunder over the weekend: Five Thoughts on Carmelo to the Thunder and Twitter Reacts: Melo to OKC. You can also check out the video/quotes from Sam Presti’s press conference on Friday.