Ryne Nelson (SLAM) on reports of NBA teams thinking the Thunder should trade Russell Westbrook: “An “increasing number” of people around the NBA think the Thunder should consider trading Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe… “There’s an increasing number of people around the League who think the Thunder should look at trading [Russell] Westbrook. To be clear, not a report. Not Thunder sources think they should do this. Just in spitballing ideas with teams around the League, there’s a number of people who have heard, ‘It’s time for something to change here.”
Fred Katz on everything you need to know about all of the Thunder’s free agents: “Chances are, Anthony will find a way to earn all or most of his 2018-19 salary. After all, he insisted he couldn’t be successful inside the role the Thunder wanted him in this year. And he could make his way off the roster even if he doesn’t exercise his early-termination option by the June 23 deadline. He could negotiate a buyout with Oklahoma City, which would send him into free agency. Maybe from there, he would consider roles with Cleveland or Houston, both of which were on his list of desired franchises before the 2017 trade to OKC. The Thunder could also deal him (though that would be far more complicated considering his bloated salary and, of course, his no-trade clause). Don’t rule out a return to Oklahoma City next year, either.”
Chris Roling (B/R) on the latest Paul George rumblings: “The George-Westbrook tandem only won two playoff games while going down at the hands of Utah, a passing of the torch of sorts in a Western Conference littered with rising teams. George could help the Lakers be the next. According to Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post, the Lakers already headline the conversation: “Ask people today—particularly in the wake of this first-round exit—and they’ll say the Lakers still remain the favorites to get him this summer.” The hometown kid returning is a fun storyline, and George could be a nice complementary piece while playing alongside guys like Ingram, even if he did slightly underwhelm as the Thunder took their bow out of the playoffs.”
Jenni Carlson (NewsOK) on why China could be a land of opportunity for Carmelo Anthony: “Trade. Buyout. Stretch. Keep. Bench. Start. On and on they go. But what about suggestions for Anthony? Those are fewer and further between. Most folks who’ve offered options are thinking about the Thunder, not so much Carmelo. Well, there is one that could be really good for him — and it has the side benefit of being pretty good for the Thunder, too. China. In the past decade or so, the basketball world has become aware of the Chinese Basketball Association. More and more American-born players have gone there, most notably Stephon Marbury. He signed with a team in 2010 after feeling unloved and unwanted in the NBA but believing he still had good basketball left in him. (Sound familiar?)”
Ben Zajdel (Smoking Cuban) lists Jerami Grant as a potential target for the Mavericks in free agency: “Picked 39th overall by the 76ers, Grant has slowly developed into a rotation player, filling a key role for the Thunder off the bench the last two seasons. He isn’t the shooter that Hezonja is, but is a better defender. He’s able to defend three positions, if not four, and would give the Mavericks some depth behind Harrison Barnes. One of the things I like about Grant is how aggressive he can be. He was fourth on the Thunder in free throw attempts, despite usually being the fourth or fifth scoring option on the floor. It wasn’t exactly an unpopular opinion to say that the Thunder were a better team when Grant was on the floor instead of Carmelo Anthony.”
Kaz Nagatsuka (Japan Times) on Japanese Thunder superfan, Nanae Yamano: “In her first-ever trip outside of Japan, Yamano had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only was she able to enjoy watching “Russ” and the Thunder play in person (she sat in the fifth row), she was overwhelmed by the treatment she received away from the game as well. The Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, native visited the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma City National Memorial (which was built on the site of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing). She even met Mayor David Holt at his office. She also appeared in a few television interviews. “I was surprised because there was no way I expected I would be welcomed the way I was,” she said. Yamano now hopes to visit the city again if she has a chance in the future. But she won’t go back just for Thunder games. She would like to walk around the town again. She became fascinated by Oklahoma City, which she feels embraces Native American art.”
Ben Rohrback (Yahoo Sports) on Chinese nicknames for NBA superstars: “Rutgers University assistant professor Nick Kapur, a historian of East Asia with a Ph.D. from Harvard, shared on Twitter a list of nicknames for high-profile NBA players that Chinese netizens have altered from the traditional translations of English monikers, and the lot of them are, quite simply, amazing… Russell Westbrook – 威少 “Wei Dude”. Russ’s phonetic name in Chinese (衛斯特布魯克 wei si te bu lu ke) is really long so they shortened it to “Wei Dude.” They also upgraded the “wei” from “guarding” (衛) to “dominating” (威).”
Around the League: LeBron and the Cavs completed a series sweep of Toronto…. The Sixers stayed alive in their series against Boston…. The Jazz will be without Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum in Game 5 vs Houston…. The Pistons fired Stan Van Gundy…. Enes Kanter is trying to recruit LeBron to New York…. The players who step up most in the playoffs…. The state of mental health care in the NBA.