3 min read

Tuesday Bolts – 12.20.16

Tuesday Bolts – 12.20.16

Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider: “When it comes to the CBA, the devil is in the details, and the


fine print here is that trade exception — players are eligible for the designated veteran player exception as long as they were traded during their rookie contract. And that means if you’re a potential superstar and don’t want to stay with your team long-term, you have to get out before your rookie contract ends. We can call this the James Harden path. Though it’s not clear Harden wanted out of Oklahoma City when he turned down the Thunder’s offer of a below-max extension in 2012, Harden knew the potential consequences. Hours after he passed on Oklahoma City’s last offer, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets and subsequently signed a max extension. Younger players could follow Harden’s lead, using the threat of passing on an extension offer to leverage their original teams into trading them to a desired destination so they could benefit from this new rule.”

Tom Ley of Deadspin: “It would be easy to look at the box score from this game and determine that when Westbrook plays like this, he’s shooting his team out of games while channeling the most bitter parts of Kobe Bryant’s spirit. That’s an argument that will likely burn hotter as the season progresses and the Thunder fight to stay in the playoff picture, and neither side will be all right or all wrong. There will certainly be some yelling, though.”

God Shammgod speaks.

All-Star voting is changing.

Fred Katz: “Flash back 10 seconds of game clock, and the Thunder were down two with Westbrook barreling down the court. His feet may not have touched the ground from the time he received the inbounds pass to the moment his ensuing shot fell short. They were certainly in the air as he contorted his body, trying to sell a foul unsuccessfully as the ball knocked off the front of the rim and back to him. So, he touched the ground for a split millisecond, clearly peeved at the silence from the three men in stripes, and went up for a putback with the same three Hawks who had altered his first shot still surrounding him. Atlanta wing Kent Bazemore knocked it out of bounds. Again, no whistle. The world has seen Westbrook more pleased. The drama continued: A Thunder timeout, another play for Westbrook, another miss — this time, a 3 in the left corner off the inbounds. The shot never touched the rim, and a dunk from center Steven Adams went in long after the buzzer to close a Hawks victory. It was Bazemore closing out on Westbrook once again. And again, no call.”

My story from last night.

Interesting chart on open 3s.

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com had OKC eighth yesterday: “OKC’s lost 3 of 5, including a drop to the Blazers. The Thunder are a wildly inconsistent team, which usually I tend to be harsher on. But they have Russell Westbrook. The offense (20th in rating) is bad … but they have Russell Westbrook. It’s a pattern.”

Marc Stein had OKC eighth: “Seven games left in 2016 for Russell Westbrook, who has 28 triple-doubles since Jan. 1. Which means he can still catch Oscar Robertson for the NBA’s calendar-year-record of 34 in 1961. More importantly, Oklahoma City is 10-3 this season when Angry Russ triple-doubles and 6-8 when he doesn’t. The Thunder, in other words, appear to need everything Westbrook is giving them despite the various critics who take issue with OKC’s reliance on him. The opening third of the season, on this scorecard, belonged to Westbrook as much as anyone. But some help, perhaps, is on the way, with Westbrook’s backup Cameron Payne (foot) nearing his season‎ debut.”