Saturday Bolts: Paul George/Free Agency Roundup
I’m breaking Daily Thunder protocol by Bolting on the weekend, but there’s too much going on to not gather it up. Here’s a special Saturday version of Bolts, focusing exclusively on the Paul George trade and other Thunder-related free agency rumors bouncing around Twitter.
Sam Amick on how OKC is back on track — a lot of inside info here: “In the spirit of today’s star-driven NBA, this will come as no surprise: Westbrook was intimately involved in this process and completely on board with this plan. That hardly guarantees he’ll sign the extension, or that George will re-sign, but it does ensure that Westbrook’s days of carrying the lion’s share of the Thunder load are over for the foreseeable future.”
Royce Young on how landing George doesn’t come without risk: “The move is an obvious risk for the Thunder. They give up two young building-block players for George, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. It’s a dangerous proposition to face a single year with George, especially with it being one of the league’s worst-kept secrets that he fancies Los Angeles.”
Zach Lowe says it was a gamble, but OKC won the trade: “If you drew up the ideal second banana for Westbrook, it would look a lot like George (or Anthony Davis, if you prefer bigs). He’s comfortable working off the ball as a spot-up guy, and slithering around screens for catch-and-shoot jumpers — or catch-and-drive attacks in the middle of the floor. He has hit better than 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s over the last three seasons combined, per SportVU data.”
Jonathan Tjarks on how this is just the first step for Sam Presti: “Westbrook and George, meanwhile, would give them a puncher’s chance against anyone in the West outside of Golden State, since they have both proved they can take over a playoff series single-handedly. If Oklahoma City can figure out how to balance shooting and defense around their stars, they will be a dangerous team.”
Kyle Wagner of FiveThirtyEight on how George makes the Thunder contenders again: “So the Thunder are on the clock to sell themselves as a place where Westbrook can contend, or alternatively, to take their last, best shot at winning a title while they still have him. The George trade should accomplish both. According to FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection system, adding George to the Thunder and subtracting Oladipo and Sabonis should put the team at 51 wins.”
After the trade, Russell Westbrook may be more likely to wait on his extension: “USA Today‘s Sam Amick reported Saturday that Westbrook isn’t expected to sign a five-year, $217 million extension with the Thunder right away but that it will remain on the table until he does or the deadline to sign it expires at the start of the 2017-18 season. ESPN.com’s Royce Young reported Saturday one reason for Westbrook’s delay is the presence of the newly acquired Paul George, since both players could become free agents after next season.”
Zach Randolph is still an option for OKC: “On Friday, David Aldridge of NBA.com reported Randolph is scheduled to meet with teams in Los Angeles and pointed to interest from the Sacramento Kings, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers. Aldridge added the Cleveland Cavaliers also have interest, noting the two sides expect to talk on the phone on Saturday.”
Andre Roberson back?
Rudy Gay rumors aren’t dead yet, either:
Michael Carter-Williams is still on the radar:
Finally, CJ Miles is in play: