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Tuesday Bolts: 6.12.18

Ashish Mathur (Amico Hoops) on the Cavs reportedly having interest in Paul George: “According to a report from The Ringer, Cleveland’s interest in George has not waned. James and George will discuss teaming up with the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported, but perhaps that discussion could end up including the Cavs as well if James is intent on staying home. Like James, George is expected to decline his 2018-19 player option to enter free agency this offseason. The swingman averaged 21.9 points for the Thunder this past season while shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. He did undergo a scope procedure on his left knee on May 9 but will likely return to offseason basketball activities at some point between June 20 and July 4. The Thunder internally has maintained that their main focus this offseason is to re-sign George, but they will have competition for his services. The Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Lakers will aggressively try to sign George, but maybe the Cavs can sneak into that list if James gets in the ear of George.”

Rob Mahoney (SI) on what Paul George might want this summer: “That George wants to play in Los Angeles isn’t so much an open secret as an acknowledged fact. But there’s a material difference between playing in L.A. and playing in L.A. alongside other stars. Would George really be willing to sign with the Lakers, for example, if no other high-end player will join him? When other stars come calling—and they will—could a player as competitive as George pass up their better basketball offers? What even happens if Playoff P joins a team that fails to make the playoffs? Free agency is fascinating because it is revelatory. This summer, we’re going to learn something about George and the priorities he lives by, just as we’ll learn something about James, Jordan, Isaiah Thomas, and dozens of others.”

Nate Duncan (The Athletic) gave Carmelo Anthony the No-Defense Player of the Year Award: “Few non-centers are capable of personally killing a defense the way Anthony did this year. Throw in his high-stakes failures and Donovan’s inability to remove him from the lineup, and Anthony is a clear choice as the 2018 No-Defense Player of the Year. As the Thunder unraveled in the playoffs, I consulted a respected veteran about Carmelo. His take: Anthony would have to decide whether winning or playing the style he always had was more important. Carmelo’s comments after the season — in which Anthony adamantly rejected the idea of becoming a bench player and blamed his role, rather than his own failings, for his poor season — indicate he won’t be focusing on the necessary improvements to his defense and spot-up shooting this offseason. That makes him the early favorite for this award next season as well.”

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on more draft prospects being linked to the Thunder: “Although the Thunder does not currently have a first-round draft pick, the team has been active in hosting prospects for pre-draft workouts. In addition, they have also shown interest in Florida native Anfernee Simons and Drew Eubanks from Oregon State.  Most of the players the team worked out before the early-entry deadline for underclassmen returned to school, but we’re beginning to see more players audition for the team. Here is a list of some of the players the team has reportedly worked out or will workout prior to the draft on June 21.”

Steven Adams, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook appear in the latest Bad Lip Reading video:

TV New Zealand on Steven Adams and the annoying game of golf: “I do have the golf bug, but it’s very annoying, it is cliché, you smash like 20 bad shots, just trash, then you hit one good one and you’re like ‘I’m good, I knew I was good’, and then your next 50 is trash, you hold on to that one good one and it sucks.” Adams admitted that he probably needed to cut into his Fortnite time to work on his golf, with a focus of hitting the ball straight. “Honestly, you’re not wrong, I need to get off Fortnite and get on the golf course.”

Darnell Mayberry joins Brett Dawson and Erik Horne on the Thunder Buddies Podcast: “Thunder Buddies — The Finals and free agency — Erik Horne and Brett Dawson are joined by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic to look back at the Warriors’ second straight title and the concept of adversity in Golden State’s playoff run, then move on to a more pressing topic: Paul George’s decision, and how the Thunder might approach this offseason.”

Tyler Parker (The Ringer) on the complicated predicament of Kevin Durant: “Durant was inducted into the state of Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame a year before Westbrook. He opened a restaurant in downtown Oklahoma City. KD’s Southern Cuisine. The food was somewhere between fine and mediocre. It was overpriced. The decorations were basically an ESPY, some game-worn shoes, a couple signed basketballs and televisions. People ate there anyway. Fans went so hard for him The Oklahoman issued an apology for a headline—shouts to Mr. Unreliable, which somehow happened only four years ago, not the million it feels like—that criticized him harshly. Then he went west and the cupcakes came out. He may well reach favorite son status again for some other city if, somehow, he leaves the Bay, but he’ll never be one in Golden State. Their own fans admit as much.”

Around the League: Bob Myers says KD is worth “whatever he wants”…. Steve Kerr thinks this was a tough season for Kevin Durant…. Dwane Casey is the new head coach in Detroit…. Will Kevin Love find his way?…. Thaddeus Young is considering free agency…. Lonzo Ball released a diss track about Kyle Kuzma…. Will the best player go No. 1 in the Draft?…. The NBA is more fun than ever — even if the drama isn’t…. How the NBA built a digital media dynasty.