According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Thunder are among a group of contenders hoping Wesley Matthews gets bought out in New York:
A few things here:
- It’s entirely possible the Knicks decide to keep Matthews. They’ve given no real indication of their plan just yet — but like Stein mentioned, their preference is to trade him rather than pursue a buyout. If they keep him or send him elsewhere in a trade, obviously this is all for naught.
- Should Matthews become available in a buyout, there’s reportedly a great deal of competition for his services among contenders. According to Stein, the Thunder, 76ers, Warriors, Raptors and Rockets are all hoping to get into the mix. He’d have to be sold on OKC above other attractive opportunities, which is no given.
- The Thunder could offer Matthews the taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.3 million, or a veteran’s minimum worth $2.3 million.
If everything came together and resulted in Matthews landing in Oklahoma City, he’d certainly give the team a boost in the shooting department. He’s a career 38.3 percent shooter from long range and hitting 37.4 percent of his attempts this season. I wouldn’t expect him to crack the starting lineup ahead of Terrance Ferguson (or Andre Roberson), but he’d be preferable to Alex Abrines, Hamidou Diallo, and Abdel Nader at this point and in the postseason. Though the team is improving from downtown, adding a proven shooter for the stretch run never hurt anyone.
If Matthews isn’t traded by Thursday’s deadline, the Knicks will have until March 1 to complete a buyout so he can appear on another team’s postseason roster. Should be interesting to watch develop.
Paul George on Russell Westbrook & More
Covering Russell Westbrook has been a bit tricky this season. On one hand, he’s averaging a triple-double and the Thunder are third in the Western Conference. On the other, his struggles shooting the basketball have been too glaring to overlook. Trust me — you never want to criticize the heart and soul of Thunder basketball. Sometimes you just have to accept the venomous Twitter replies and do it.
That being said, Paul George sat down with ESPN to discuss his season and how Westbrook has helped make the game easier for him. He basically tells me and everyone else to knock it off already when it comes to the former MVP’s impact:
In addition to building up his point guard, George goes on to discuss his 2014 injury, the Thunder offense, Steven Adams screens, and more. The dude seems genuinely happy in Oklahoma City, doesn’t he? Warms my bones.
History for PG13
George shot 5-of-16 from long range on Sunday in Boston, making it his 31st consecutive game with at least two makes from 3-point land. While it all seems fairly run of the mill for PG13 at this point, that 31-game streak is officially the third-longest in NBA history.
As it stands, here’s the list of most consecutive games with at least two made 3-pointers:
- Stephen Curry – 50 games
- Stephen Curry – 34
- Paul George – 31
- James Harden – 30
And the shot that moved him past Harden:
George is hoisting a career-high 9.1 three-point attempts per game and knocking down 40.6 percent of them. Since he’s not participating in the three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend, it’s not crazy to think he can make a run at the top of the list down the stretch of this season.
Deonte Burton Back?
The Thunder traded Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to Chicago last Friday, leaving the roster at 13 players — one below the 14 required by the CBA. As such, Sam Presti has until next Friday to add a player. He could certainly do so via trade or the buyout market, but bringing Deonte Burton back from the G-League is just as/more likely.
As if Burton himself realized this, he had himself quite a Sunday in South Dakota. The 25-year-old guard dropped 27 points (10/17 FG, 3/7 3P, 4/4 FT), five rebounds, three assists, and five steals in the Blue’s 130-117 win over the Skyforce. It was his third straight game with 20+ points.
Burton is averaging 17 points (45.7% FG, 30.5% 3P), five rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 steals in 22 appearances with the Blue this season. While I don’t think he’d play any sort of meaningful role on the main roster should he end up there, he’s the safe bet to occupy that spot should Presti come up empty in the trade/buyout market. Could do worse, I guess.
That’s all I got. Enjoy the rest of your Monday night.