4 min read

Tuesday Bolts: 6.19.18

Scott Polacek (B/R) on the latest Paul George chatter: “Paul George is a Southern California native, but it is reportedly no sure thing that he will sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith cited sources on his Stephen A. Smith Show who said they aren’t sure George will ink a contract with the Purple and Gold. Smith noted the Oklahoma City Thunder plan on offering him a max contract, and it will “be hard for him to pull away from that” when combined with his positive relationship with Russell Westbrook. However, Smith pointed out George’s wife and parents would prefer him to sign with the Lakers.”

Ryne Nelson (SLAM) recaps Donovan Mitchell’s latest recruiting pitch to Paul George: “We want to win, we’re not selfish. I’m not the type of guy who’s kind of like, Oh, it’s my team. I’m a rookie, a second-year player. He’s an All-Star. If he comes in, it’s gonna make our life easier on the offensive end. He’s a great defender. We have guys who want to play with him. We went through a tough first series because of him. We have guys that understand what it takes. If we don’t score 30, it’s not the end of the world to us. So I think a guy like him—and I single him out specifically—would thrive in our organization.”

Michael Pina (Vice Sports) with seven reasonable destinations for Paul George: “The Thunder is the only team that can guarantee a fifth year and eight percent annual raises on a max contract, which lets them offer $45.45 million more than anybody else. And the Lakers are a franchise he’s always dreamed about playing for. But Oklahoma City couldn’t get out of the first round despite having home-court advantage and no serious injuries beyond Andre Roberson. Its cap sheet is a bloated disaster, to boot. The Lakers have far more flexibility and optimism within their organization, but given Kawhi Leonard’s reported preference to go there, how does George feel about potentially being the second or third best player on a super team that won’t be promised a trip to the Finals? Is he interested in sacrificing money and shots?… Here’s a look at seven of them, ranked by my subjective feelings of what makes the most sense—some are far more realistic than others.”

Greg Swartz (B/R) with a truly awful trade idea that would land Paul George in Cleveland: “With some recruitment by James, George and the Thunder can agree to a deal in which George opts in (much like Chris Paul did last year) and is traded to the Cavs. Oklahoma City carries little leverage and would have to choose between collecting some role players to spot around Russell Westbrook and getting nothing in return. Of course, this relies on the communication between James and George. The groundwork was put in place a year ago; now it’s time for James to finish the job. The Deal: George to Cleveland for Kyle Korver and Jordan Clarkson.”

Erik Horne on Kerem Kanter working out for the Thunder: “Kerem Kanter, the younger brother of former Thunder center Enes Kanter, was in Oklahoma City on Monday as part of a pre-draft workout with the Thunder, according to Kerem’s agent, Hadis Fetic, of Maestro Sports. Kerem, 23, is preparing for the NBA Draft after completing his senior season at Xavier (Ohio) University. Kerem played his first three collegiate seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and represented the school at the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City as a sophomore while Enes was still on the Thunder. At Xavier, the 6-foot-9, 245-pounder averaged 10.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in helping the Musketeers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in March.”

Jonathan Wasserman (B/R) has TCU’s Kenrich Williams as the draft sleeper to watch for the Thunder: “A sleeper for all teams, Kenrich Williams would fit nicely in Oklahoma City for his well-rounded skill set at either forward spot. The Thunder could value his shooting, rebounding and passing to complement their star players. He shot 39.5 percent from deep and averaged 3.9 assists and 9.3 rebounds, a rare mix of stats for a wing. A versatile and efficient player, having shot at least 47.0 percent from the floor in three consecutive years, Williams should be on the second-round-steal watch.”

Brett Dawson on John Calipari’s admiration for the Thunder’s G-League model: “The Kentucky coach also is familiar with uphill climbs into the league, which a few of his players might face next season. And as he’s watched former players — including the Thunder’s Dakari Johnson — make it from the second round of the draft into the NBA, he’s come to appreciate good use of the developmental G League. “I think there are teams in the league that have really utilized it,” Calipari said on a conference call Monday. “And I think because of the success of those teams — Oklahoma City and a couple others — the other teams will move toward that. Literally, ‘We’re not just having a team to have a team. We want these kids to get on that court. We want them to play.’”

Robby Kalland (DIME Mag) on Carmelo Anthony seeming upset on social media: “We haven’t really heard much from Carmelo since his exit interview in OKC, but he’s heard from everyone else with jokes about his decline and his almost assured spot on the Thunder next year because it’d be insane of him to walk away from $28 million. On Monday, Anthony decided to post a little message to his haters on Instagram with a picture of him as he gets his wine glass refilled that says “All Critics Can Duck Sick.”

Around the League: Enes Kanter’s dad has been indicted in Turkey…. Rudy Gay is opting out of his deal with the Spurs…. Is Trae Young the next Steph?….. Is DeAndre Ayton the second coming of Kevin Garnett?…. Jay-Z is joining Puma Basketball in a high-profile role…. DeAndre Ayton signed a deal with Puma….. USA Today’s latest Mock Draft….  Nate Robinson is battling inner demons in his quest to return to the NBA.