3 min read

Tuesday Bolts – 2.21.17

Tuesday Bolts – 2.21.17

Zach Lowe of ESPN.com: “Boston is threading a tricky needle. Before they lost Kevin Durant, the

Thunder talked about the possibility of contending for titles for something like 15 straight seasons instead of flaming out after a half-decade of ring-chasing. That’s why Sam Presti, their GM, kept the back of the roster stocked with extra picks, and then turned those extra picks into young players on rookie scale contracts. The coffers would always be full. The Thunder are no longer contending. Durant left, and he reportedly grew frustrated with Oklahoma City’s inability to land quality veterans. Boston is at no risk of losing a player near Durant’s caliber, and if they simply keep their picks, they have a chance to be very good for a very long time. The status quo is the safest route. They won’t jeopardize it for a rental (Ibaka) or a ball-dominant star who could ruin their culture (Cousins).”

Chris Mannix of The Vertical: “The result was, well, anticlimactic. About a minute in Westbrook tossed an entry pass to a (sort of) posting up Durant. Westbrook cut and Durant found him with an alley-oop that Westbrook finished at the rim. He pointed in Durant’s direction and tapped his former teammate when he passed him on the other end of the floor. And that was it. A timeout was called moments later, and the Western Conference bench mock celebrated around the two stars. And then Durant was gone, subbed out. In total, Westbrook and Durant shared 82 seconds of court time – and that was the most significant moment.”

Who could move at the deadline?

Erik Horne: “The Thunder’s in a precarious position: How to remain a playoff team but also have a future. The loss of Durant in free agency isn’t a seven-month fix, but with Westbrook signed up for one more season guaranteed, the Thunder has to continue to build around him this season while considering the long-term effects. In order for the Thunder to make a splash move to get Westbrook another wing scorer or star at the deadline, it would likely have to part with a valuable piece. Adams and Oladipo are more than three months removed from their extensions and eligible to be dealt, but does trading young core pieces for a star simultaneously hurt in an attempt to strengthen?”

Tom Haberstroh throws some water on Russ’s season.

Shaq on Russ and KD: “I’ve been in a similar situation. Probably due to lack of communication. I can understand what Russell’s going through. I did the same thing to Penny [Anfernee Hardaway] when I signed in L.A. Me, I felt there was no need to call anybody and tell them what I was doing, and I’m sure Penny was hurt by that. I’m sure that’s what it is. And then Russell’s probably saying, ‘You was my man, but you go to the team that beat us, and you don’t even call me to tell me?’ So it’s just a lack of communication. They were always friends and always tight and always played together. But one lack of communication can cause everything.”

Brad Doolittle of ESPN Insider: “The Thunder need another scorer, and ideally that guy would play small forward. The obvious target is Denver’s Wilson Chandler, and because the Thunder are under the cap, they could make a one-for-one swap of Abrines work. I know the Thunder like Abrines, but Chandler is someone who can help right way while being viable beyond this season.”