4 min read

Thursday Bolts: 5.25.17

Thursday Bolts: 5.25.17

Erik Horne on the busy summer for Domas Sabonis: “In addition to Summer League July 1-6, Sabonis will also be playing for the Lithuania National Team in the FIBA EuroBasket championships from Aug. 31-Sept. 17. He’ll arrive in Lithuania July 30 for camp, play EuroBasket, then sneak in some rest before NBA training camp in October. ‘That was an important focus, too, to get some rest, so I wouldn’t be worn out before the season starts,’ Sabonis said.”

ESPN on the Blake Griffin-to-OKC rumors: “The most feasible way for this to happen would be for the Clippers to take back one of the Thunder’s high-paid role players such as Steven Adams ($22.4M), Victor Oladipo ($21M) or Enes Kanter ($17.9M) as part of the deal. But the Clippers likely would not be interested in Adams at that price with DeAndre Jordan holding down the center spot and Enes Kanter at nearly $18M does not figure to be of much interest to the Clippers. Victor Oladipo could replace JJ Redick in an interesting backcourt if Chris Paul returns and Redick does not, but this seems like a stretch as the start of a deal as well. Verdict: Fake news”

Katz grades Alex Abrines: “The Thunder are desperate for Abrines’ shooting. They need his trigger-happy ways, too. It’s no coincidence that a man who has highlights of himself ready to go on his iPhone is always ready, willing and able to shoot. It doesn’t matter if he’s making or missing on a given night, either. That’s part of why Westbrook has so much faith in him, why the Thunder’s best player gives it up to Abrines on their sneakily effective 1-2 pick-and-rolls more often than he gives the ball to anyone else coming off ball-screens. It may even be why Westbrook got so into Abrines’ 3-point celebration, in which Abrines rubs his unshavable scruff a few times while backpedalling up the court.”

Tramel on the rising difficulty of trading Enes Kanter: “Does Kanter’s contentious relationship with Turkey hurt his trade value? How could it not? We’ve already established that Kanter’s value has been diminished by the type of play. Low-post players with limited versatility are not in demand the way they once were. A player like Kanter still can help a team – he still helps the Thunder a bunch – but his value is less than in previous forms of NBA play.”

Sports Illustrated has OKC taking SF Rodions Kurucs at 21 in their latest mock draft: “Kurucs is still young—with help from Fran Fraschilla, the New York Post dubs him a “Latvian baby” here—but at 6’9 and 225 with a smooth shooting stroke, you can see the outlines of Latvian Bogandovic. Also whoever drafts him could stash him in Europe for another year or two before he enters the NBA. Given OKC’s penchant for stashing late-first rounders and the need for shooting around Westbrook, we’ll keep him here for now.”

Russell Westbrook will reportedly be the cover athlete for NBA Live 18:

Odds & Ends

Tyronn Lue said the Celtics are more difficult to defend than Golden State. This feels like an obvious mistake: “I don’t even think about them,” Lue said of the Warriors to a small group of traveling Cleveland beat writers following the Cavs’ Game 4 win Tuesday. “We’re just focused on Boston. The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it’s a totally different thing.”

KD is the odds-on favorite to win Finals MVP: “Kevin Durant opened as the favorite to be named NBA Finals MVP on Wednesday at William Hill, the first Nevada sportsbook ever to offer odds on the Finals MVP. Durant is listed at 7-5, followed by Warriors point guard Stephen Curry at 8-5.”

Chris Bosh is a free agent: “As the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson notes, the league’s new labor deal, which takes effect July 1, includes a provision that would allow for “a medical panel to rule that Bosh would be at risk if he resumes his career.” As a result of that change, Jackson reports that the Heat is optimistic it will be able to clear Bosh’s remaining salary from its cap before free agency begins this summer and not be at risk for potential luxury tax penalties if Bosh resumes his career with another team next season.”

The Ringer on free agency already beginning: “The first game of this season’s NBA Finals is more than a week away, but free agency and the draft are already in the heart, mind, or Likes of everyone not on a Golden State or Cleveland roster. Even Boston, which is technically still in the playoffs after breaking the Cavaliers’ broom, is subject to chatter about Gordon Hayward.”