Thursday Bolts: 10.17.19
Brandon Rahbar’s (Daily Thunder) thoughts from the final Thunder preseason game: “An OKC starting lineup without CP3 nor TFerg whipped a mostly intact Grizzlies starting lineup in the first half of the game. A Paul, Adams, SGA and Gallo core four will keep the Thunder competitive for as long as they’re together. For some Thunder fans, that’s a sigh of joyous relief, while for others, it’s a cause for lottery concern.”
Brandon also joined the OKC Dream Team for the Thunder After Dark podcast.
Since the Thunder made it through preseason without any significant injuries, you can count on all the training camp invitees to be cut in the coming days. Which means it’s as good a time as ever to pass along Devaughn Akoon-Purcell’s nickname, which has yet to hit his Basketball-Reference page:
Billy Donovan might rather talk China than Andre Roberson at this point:
Sam Vecenie (The Athletic) is ranking the rookie-scale asset-base for every team in the league. The Thunder are #21 for now: “They also have a somewhat interesting mix of prospects on the roster. There is one genuine future all-star, but more than that there are also some intriguing potential role pieces who could play a role going forward for the Thunder. The front office and development staff have done an interesting job of identifying borderline guys, and making them players worth watching going forward. I’d actually have them a few spots higher than this, especially given the presence of Gilgeous-Alexander. But executives around the league were a bit less bullish on the rest of the guys, so I’m leaving them here.”
This basically went without saying, but Sean Deveney (heavy.) reports that the asking price for Heat players Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo was not exactly negotiable in view of a Chris Paul deal: “They’ve been firm on him and (Bam) Adebayo being untouchable,” one GM told Heavy.com before Herro’s explosive night. “Maybe they would move off of that as the season goes on, but as it stands, they think they’ve got the second coming of Klay Thompson offensively. They have not had a lot of useful guys on rookie contracts in past years and that’s killed their cap. They’ve got two now, they don’t want to let them go.”
Rob Mahoney (SI) has the inside look at Russell Westbrook’s reunion with James Harden in Houston: “The deus ex trade machina, in this instance, was Paul George. A year after re-signing with the Thunder on a four-year deal, George requested a trade that would ultimately send him to the Clippers. What was a shocking development around the league wasn’t quite so for Westbrook. “I can’t be surprised if me and Paul were in communication the whole time,” Westbrook says. “So I wouldn’t say I was surprised at all. I’m all for doing what’s best for my teammates. If Paul felt like it was time for him to move on and explore options, then I’mma back him. That’s the type of relationship we have.” Following a development of that magnitude, Houston began its due diligence. “Once Paul went to the Clippers, I reached out to Oklahoma City and they said they were open to talk,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey says. “So we talked.” Harden and Westbrook did too. Over the years they had joked about playing together again in the same way two friends might daydream about a trip they know they’ll never take. Harden was a stakeholder with the Rockets, and Westbrook was entrenched with the Thunder. (“I just built a new house in Oklahoma,” Westbrook says.) The very idea of two of the highest-paid, highest-usage players in the league on the same team was too preposterous to honestly consider. Until George.”
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