Thunder Journal: All the News
From Brandon Rahbar:
The Thunder have had three days off leading up to their Battle for Banchero tonight, but there’s still been some OKCentric news bits over the past week. Let’s break down all the latest Thunder happenings.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s final All-Star voting tally
SGA finished 11th overall among Western Conference guards. He was behind Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard, a duo that’s combined to play about as many regular seasons games as playoff games played by Dame since waving goodbye to OKC. A tip of the hat to the players, as Shai’s peers had him ranked 7th. A flip of the bird to the fans, who had Shai coming in at 13th.
To trade or not to trade Kenrich Williams, that is the question
The bane of many Thunder fans’ social media existence, Jake Fischer, is back at it again with the OKC trade rumor mill. The man who copyrighted the nightmare draft night trade rumor of SGA and the #6 overall pick for the #1 overall pick is hearing from sources that Sam Presti’s price for Kenny Hustle is a first rounder. While most OKC faithful don’t believe anything that comes out of Fischer’s mouth, err fingers, he is well connected and very well may have intel. Let’s entertain the idea that this Kenrich rumor is true. It makes sense. Kenrich has recently openly said he would like to stay and retire in OKC. By all accounts, the Thunder love Williams. How could they not ? Ideally for both sides, Kenrich is a part of the next Thunder playoff team. He’s the perfect winning-team role player and locker room leader. Think Nick Collison with a mullet. Obviously, everyone has a price. But what if I told you Presti may be purposely setting the price too high because the true Hustle was keeping Kenny all along ?
Content de te revoir, Theo Maledon
The sophomore French point guard has had quite the one and a half season rollercoaster ride. In his first ever preseason game as a rookie with the Thunder, he burst onto the scene with 20 points and 5 assists and had OKC fans everywhere texting and tweeting those Lincoln Riley emoji eyes. The second rounder somehow ended up leading the Thunder in total minutes played in 2020-2021 as a rookie. Not even a year later, Maledon is out of the rotation and has only played sparingly with the big-league team, mostly in garbage time. He was assigned to the G League but something was lost in translation because he must’ve heard “annihilate the G League.”
Maledon’s scoring totals in his last five OKC Blue games: 29 points, 26 points, 26 points, 25 points and 24 points. NBA All-Star starter Andrew Wiggins could never!
In 14 G League games, Theo is averaging 17.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 50% shooting from the field and 38% from long distance.
“Whatever Brandon, he stinks in real games!” Yeah, yeah, I’ve seen the numbers. I’m just saying maybe we closed the book on Theo too early. Maybe there’s still a viable backup NBA point guard in there somewhere. After all, Maledon is younger than Tre Mann, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aaron Wiggins.
Look, I just wanted to warn you because Maledon has been recalled from the Blue and he’s coming after someone’s minutes. It might not be tonight against the Pacers. It may not be Monday night versus the Zombie Blazers. But a pretty good source says Maledon minutes are imminent.
“When he comes back here, I want to reward him with opportunity,” Mark Daigneault answered in a media Zoom call on Thursday afternoon in response to a query on Theo’s strong Blue play. “I don’t know when that’ll be.”
Zombie Clippers, would you lose already ?
Seriously, you’re getting annoying.
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For the Oklahoma City Thunder, the real season has begun–trade season. From now until February 10, your Twitter feed should be full of trade rumors and mock trades, as the Thunder are setup to be one of the league’s most active trade partners. OKC is the NBA’s best dumping spot for big contracts, so anytime you hear a trade will involve a “third team,” chances are that third team will be the Thunder.
Now all that said, since the Thunder own approximately 78% of all of the first-round picks from now until 2030, the incoming goods this deadline may not be all that thrilling, but I am still incredibly excited to turn on Shams and Wojs alerts and waiting for the bomb tweet that announces the Thunder have acquired a 2027 second-round pick and the draft rights to a guy drafted late in the second round of the 2014 draft.
Speaking of trade season, Greg Swartz (Bleacher Report) has Gary Trent Jr. as a dream target for the Thunder, Mo Bomba as a realistic target, and Serge Ibaka as a “sneaky target.” On Trent, Swartz writes: “The worst three-point shooting team in the NBA (31.2 percent), the Thunder could use Trent to bolster their outside attack. He’s tied for 18th in three-point makes per game (2.7) and has connected on 39.0 percent of his tries over the past three years. At age 23 and under contract for the next three years, he fits the rebuild in OKC.”
Kenrich Williams and Mike Muscala also appear on the list of targets for several other teams in Swartz’s rundown of trade targets for all 30 days, including Kenny Hustle being the dream target for the Golden State Warriors.
Jack Maloney (CBS Sports) says that Josh Giddey is one of the NBA’s most entertaining playmakers. “When you watch Giddey in action, it doesn’t take long to come to the same conclusion that the Thunder did: There is something special about him. His vision, his feel, the way he reads and understands not only what’s happening at the moment, but what’s going to happen.”
Ben Creider (Inside the Thunder) writes about Theo Maledon’s time with the OKC Blue. “However, in the Blue’s latest six-day, four-game stand – Theo Maledon has risen the rungs of the G League roster. As since he’s beamed off star-caliber production since taking on the venture. Maledon’s masterclass has seen the guard torch the competition, logging four-consecutive 20-point performances, with three of four efforts hitting the 25-point mark. In his reign, he not only rattled in 25.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, but he also elevated in the clutch, sending a game to overtime off a 33-footer.”