6 min read

Thursday Bolts: 7.26.18

Jemele Hill (ESPN) with Melo’s thoughts on his time in OKC: “Anthony said ultimately things didn’t work out with the Thunder because of timing. “At the end of the day, it wasn’t a good fit,” he said. “I think last year — and I haven’t talked about this before — everything was just so rushed, going to the team for media day and the day before training camp. Them guys already had something in place, and then I come along in the 25th hour like, oh s—, Melo just come on and join us. Like, you can figure it out since you’ve been around the game for a long time. That’s why it was so inconsistent. At times, I had to figure it out on my own rather than somebody over there or people over there helping me.”

Adam Wells (B/R) with Sam Presti’s comments about Melo: “In an official statement released through the Thunder’s website, Presti highlighted Anthony’s professionalism during his lone season with the organization: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Carmelo Anthony and acknowledge his professionalism and contributions during his time with the Thunder. Although his tenure was only one year, the fact that Melo is a part of our history is important to us. We appreciate Carmelo and his agent Leon Rose for their collaboration and communication as we worked to resolve the situation in a fashion that was suitable to everyone. We wish Melo and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Matt John (Basketball Insiders) on Melo’s last chance in Houston: “This situation in Houston will be different. With all due respect to the Thunder, Houston has proven recently that they have more of a winning product on their team than Oklahoma City does. Their offensive scheme revolves around more spacing and has elite distributors in Harden and Paul, the latter of whom courted Anthony to join the Rockets. Also, among all that went wrong for Carmelo last season, his three-point percentage still held up in the regular season. Anthony still shot a solid 36 percent from three-point range on six attempts per game. Now that he’s playing for a team that values three-point shooting, he should be able to fit right in. The key difference between Oklahoma City and Houston is that expectations should be lower. Carmelo Anthony still is a feared scorer in this league, capable of putting up 20+ points on any given night, but in Houston, he won’t have to be the man. Carmelo just has to fit his game in a way that will give Houston another asset to their offense. All he has to do is concede control to Paul and Harden, and they will find Carmelo the shots he wants to take. That is only if Carmelo Anthony is willing to do that.”

Erik Horne on the Thunder signing Hamidou Diallo: “Thunder second-round pick Hamidou Diallo will sign a three-year contract with the team, The Oklahoman confirmed on Wednesday. Diallo (6-foot-6, 197 pounds), the 45th overall selection by Brooklyn in the 2018 NBA Draft, impressed in five NBA Summer League games with the Thunder, shooting 49 percent from the field and averaging 10.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game. The Thunder purchased Diallo’s rights on draft night, the start of a summer shift toward adding more young wing talent capable of playing multiple positions to the roster. Diallo certainly fits that designation, with athleticism that stood out during Summer League and his lone season at the University of Kentucky. Diallo’s contract, first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, is for three years, $4 million. Second-round picks are typically signed to a minimum first-year salary of $838,464, a figure which would save the Thunder millions in luxury tax compared to signing a player at the minimum starting salary for a two-year veteran ($1.5 million). The Thunder would pay $93.1 million in luxury tax if it ended the season with its current roster.”

Berry Tramel on half the Thunder roster being dedicated to wings: “The Thunder’s roster now stands at 15, and that includes Kyle Singler, who I can’t imagine will still be around by Sept. 1. Seems like OKC will either give him away in a trade or use the stretch provision to waive him and count his salary against the payroll tax over a period of three years. But since Singler remains on the roster, and the Thunder is at the maximum 15 players, we might as well go ahead and count him. And counting Singler, the Thunder has more than half its roster, eight players, invested in wings. Paul George, Andre Roberson, Timothe Luwawu-Carbarrot, Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson, Hamidou Diallo, Abdel Nader and Kyle Singler. The Thunder has just two centers and two power forwards. That’s 11 players dedicated to the three perimeter positions.”

Brett Dawson on Daniel Hamilton agreeing to a deal with the Hawks: “There was no room left for Daniel Hamilton on Dennis Schroder’s new team. So instead, Hamilton is headed to Schroder’s old one. Hamilton, a 6-foot-7 guard who last season was on a two-way contract with the Thunder and its G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday… Hamilton’s two-way contract last season allowed him to spend 45 days in the NBA, and he played in six games for the Thunder, averaging two points and 1.3 assists in 4.7 minutes. In two seasons with the Blue, Hamilton played 94 games, averaging 15.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists. The former Connecticut guard was the 56th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Nuggets, who traded him to the Thunder on draft night for cash.”

Ben Golliver (SI) builds the ideal 2020 Dream Team: “NO. 6: RUSSELL WESTBROOK (AGE 31 IN 2020). On this Dream Team, Westbrook wouldn’t be the best pure passer or the most efficient scorer. Frankly, he wouldn’t even be a starter if all five players listed above decided to play. However, his relentless energy and imposing style would be crucial to USAB’s success, making him a perfect sixth man. While Westbrook’s passion and intensity can sometimes get the better of him in the NBA, his margin for error in the Olympics would be significantly larger. How many countries have guards who can avoid being steamrolled by the Westbrook express? Not many… NO. 9: PAUL GEORGE (AGE 30 IN 2020). Among the remaining wing candidates, George brings the best mix of USAB experience, skillset, and positional fit. Kawhi Leonard is a superior all-around player, but George isn’t held back by major dependability questions or a lingering long-term injury. Jimmy Butler is a better individual scorer, but George is a better shooter and more comfortable playing off the ball. Bradley Beal has a similar two-way profile, but George is bigger, longer and better suited to guarding elite wings.”

Brian Mazique (Forbes) on Paul George’s 89-overall rating in NBA 2K19: “Paul George stayed in Oklahoma City, but he’ll see a one-point jump in his overall rating in NBA 2K19 from where he ended the season in NBA 2K18. George checks in at 89 overall to begin the season which ranks him third at small forward of the players rated thus far. George averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. He made over 40 percent of his threes for just the second time in his career. That’s probably why George’s overall rating raised a point. Only LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard rate higher at his position. Because Russell Westbrook will likely have a rating of 90 or better, he and George still give the Oklahoma City Thunder a dynamic duo. If you’re looking for the side-by-side comparison from NBA 2K18, take a look below.”

Brandon Wiggins (Business Insider) with a strange story of Kawhi’s superstar jealousy in San Antonio: “According to McDonald, one of the first changes in Leonard’s relationship with the Spurs came during the 2016 NBA All-Star weekend in Toronto. “Leonard and his traveling companions noticed other All-Stars — notably Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook — were using private luxury cars to get around, instead of the standard transportation provided by the NBA. They wanted the star treatment, too,” McDonald wrote. Addressing that anecdote on his podcast, Lowe said, “I heard similar noise from other teams — not the Raptors — that were in and around the Kawhi trade discussions … that this is an issue that was brought up, that there are ways that franchises are supposed to treat superstars … and the Spurs just — they don’t do that, that’s Tim Duncan, that’s the Spurs, that’s how they operate. And that annoyed him.”

Around the League: KD and CJ McCollum exchanged barbs on Twitter last night…. Setting the stage for the Team USA minicamp…. Vince Carter is signing with the Hawks…. How Melo in Houston impacts the Warriors…. Everybody still hates Dwight Howard.