Royce Young on Paul George’s knee scope: “Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George underwent a successful left knee scope, the team announced Wednesday. George is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks before returning to normal offseason activities. George dealt with knee soreness for much of last season, sitting out a game on Dec. 29 because of it. According to a press release, “the Thunder, George and his representation collectively determined” the procedure be done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles, with Thunder medical personnel present.”
Tim Bontemps on why the Sixers should pursue Paul George instead of LeBron James: “So why George, rather than James? Because he is truly the perfect complementary player to place alongside Simmons. He’s a terrific wing defender and would give Philadelphia a devastating pair of defensive options to throw at opposing scorers in he and Robert Covington. It would be similar to the setup George’s current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, utilized with him and Andre Roberson this season. Except that, unlike Roberson, Covington is a credible threat from three-point range. George also served as a secondary creator within Oklahoma City’s offense behind Russell Westbrook — something the Sixers desperately need. Yes, that is the role Markelle Fultz was supposed to fill this season, and the hope is that a full offseason of getting his own shooting issues under control will allow last year’s No. 1 overall pick to blossom into the kind of game-changing talent he showed he could be in college.”
Abhinav Kini (International Business Times) on Joel Embiid bringing up Russ & KD after the Sixers playoff exit: “The fact that they continued to exceed expectations throughout the season gives Embiid hope as the Cameroonian believes both him and Simmons can continue to grow and eventually win rings for the Philadelphia franchise, citing how they did better than Durant and Westbrook performed for the Oklahoma City Thunder in their first season together. “We have a great group of guys, I hope they’re all back next year because we understand each other, we play well with each other,” Embiid added. “Me and Ben [Simmons], we have a lot of room to grow. I was thinking about it, just looking at KD [Kevin Durant] and [Russell] Westbrook, what they did the first season together [at Oklahoma], I think they only won 28 games or something like that. Looking at what we did, we got a bright future.”
Lang Greene (Basketball Insiders) comes to the defense of Carmelo Anthony: “To the surprise of no one, Anthony balked at the idea of coming off the bench for the Thunder during his exit interviews. Most following the game pointed to this commentary that Anthony was being selfish and not understanding where he is on his NBA Journey – which is near the tail end. Of course, this is the easy take to make. What the follow-up question should have been asked after Anthony laughed off the bench move idea, was exactly who on the current Thunder roster should he be coming off the bench for? This is the true essence of the dynamic when it comes to Anthony coming off the bench. Who would he be coming off the bench for and in what situation?”
Aaron Mansfield (Complex) has Paul George as the third-best free agent on the market this summer: “We can now definitively say the OKC experiment was a failure in Year One; the Thunder just couldn’t perform consistently. They will pull out all the stops to bring George back, but many consider it a foregone conclusion that he’s headed to the Lakers. The 6’9” forward can’t carry a championship-level team, but he could be one of the best second options in the league.”
Matt Kolsky (San Francisco Examiner) on how the Thunder impacted Golden State’s dynasty: “Even before that, the Warriors had to come back from a 3-1 series deficit against Durant and his frenemy Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder, which they were only able to do thanks to an unbelievable explosion from the aforementioned Klay Thompson. Even before that, the NBA Players Association had to refuse to accept the league’s offer of “cap smoothing,” which would have avoided the massive salary cap jump that allowed the Warriors to be able to afford Durant in the summer of 2016. Then there’s all the late-night text messages Draymond probably had to send to KD to convince him to move. Going back even further, if Sam Presti never trades James Harden, perhaps none of this ever happens and we’re talking about a Thunder dynasty.”
Berry Tramel on Chris Paul — OKC’s first basketball love — making the conference finals: “It’s hard to remember when Chris Paul was our first NBA hero. It’s been more than 11 years since CP3 played his final game in Oklahoma City colors, for the 2006-07 Hornets, who went back to New Orleans. Fourteen months after that emotional farewell, the Sonics moved to town, and everyone from Hugo the Hornet to Chris Paul became, in the words of Natalie Cole, someone that we used to love. Down in New Orleans, then in Los Angeles, Paul became an iconic NBA superstar. The Point God, they called him, because he was a throwback. The closest thing to Jason Kidd or John Stockton that the contemporary game provided.”
Around the League: The Celtics are moving on to the conference finals…. Boston may be the biggest threat to Lebron yet…. Kyle Korver and Kevin Love are x-factors for Cleveland…. Brad Stevens received zero votes for Coach of the Year…. Vegas expects the Warriors to knock out the Rockets…. KD will pay for four college students’ scholarships…. Imagining the NBA without LeBron James.