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Tuesday Bolts: 6.20.17

Tuesday Bolts: 6.20.17

Fred Katz on the Thunder’s role in the Paul George saga: “The Thunder have struggled to sign free-agent talent since popping up in 2009. And they don’t have cap room as constructed. Especially with the team waiting to find out if Russell Westbrook, the likely MVP, will sign for the designated player exception in an extension this summer, OKC may need to take a risk to obtain a second banana — even if it means only one year of George.”

Jenni Carlson looks at how the superteam era may impact Russell Westbrook: “Even though he has said he leaves the front-office decisions to the front office, he has to have thought about the situation. This is his career. This is his livelihood. It’d be foolish to think Westbrook hasn’t pondered what the Thunder would need to do to compete with the Warriors and what the franchise’s chances are to be a contender, both in the short- and long-term.”

Ahead of Thursday’s Draft, Erik Horne on Oregon PF Jordan Bell: “At 6-foot-9, 227 pounds, Bell was arguably college basketball’s best defender last season. Despite being undersized at power forward and center, Bell was a legitimate stopper in the Pac-12, blocking an estimated 8.4 percent of shots when in the game, second in NCAA.”

Sports Illustrated has OKC taking Michigan’s DJ Wilson (PF) in their latest mock: “OKC is one of several teams in the 20s rumored to be high on Wilson. His shooting range, size and defensive versatility hold obvious appeal as the Thunder continue to search for the right pieces to support Russell Westbrook.”

Jon Hamm on the Thunder’s approach to 2017 free agency: “When the clock strikes 12:01 AM ET on July 1, the Oklahoma City Thunder will make its interest known to Clippers free agent Blake Griffin. It will undoubtedly make the same phone call to Gordon Hayward’s representatives. Heck, it’ll probably reach out to Chris Paul’s people as well. And if he opts-out of his contract with Golden State, the Thunder will most likely hit up Kevin Durant’s people. It’s standard operation every offseason, even when the Thunder doesn’t have cap space available.”

Cleveland is getting in on the Jimmy Butler sweepstakes: “The Cleveland Cavaliers are trying to engage the Chicago Bulls in multi-team trade scenarios that would enable the Eastern Conference champions to acquire Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN that the Cavaliers, in addition to their reported interest in Indiana’s Paul George, are trying to assemble trade packages that would convince the Bulls to part with Butler, 27, who is fresh off the best season of his career.”

Cleveland is also without a General Manager: “The Cleveland Cavaliers have parted ways with general manager David Griffin, the team announced Monday. Griffin’s contract was up at the end of the month, and after extensive talks with owner Dan Gilbert, no agreement on an extension was reached.”

KD will decline his player option and remain with the Warriors: “The 2017 NBA Finals MVP will turn down a player-option salary of approximately $28 million to momentarily hit free agency with the intentions of taking less than the max he’s eligible for as a 10-year veteran. This is in order to improve the Warriors’ chances of re-signing reserve stud Andre Iguodala, league sources told ESPN.”

ESPN selected the best picks all-time at every slot in the draft:”Great players can come from anywhere — from the first pick to the 60th. That’s clear when comparing the top five players of all time (by career win shares) selected at each draft slot. Because these rankings are based on career totals, young stars such as former No. 15 pick Giannis Antetokounmpo don’t appear just yet. Included with each slot: the team picking at that position and the player ranked there by ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford.”