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Tuesday Bolts: 7.24.18

The Thunder acquired Abdel Nader from the Celtics last night: “The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired forward Abdel Nader and cash considerations from the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard Rodney Purvis, it was announced today by Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. Nader (6-6, 220) appeared in 48 games (one start) for Boston and averaged 3.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game. Drafted 58th overall by the Celtics in the 2016 NBA draft, the Iowa State product was named the 2016-17 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, after playing in 40 games (all starts) with the Maine Red Claws and averaging 21.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 33.5 minutes per game.”

Erik Horne on the details of the Purvis/Nader swap: “According to multiple reports, Nader is on a contract this season which is guaranteed for $450,000, but he’s due $1,378,242 if he’s on a roster by Aug. 1. Purvis’s contract was non-guaranteed. The Thunder used the trade exception created in the Johnson trade to absorb Nader’s salary. The Thunder will also receive cash considerations in the deal. The trade was first reported by Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports. The trade keeps the Thunder’s roster at 13 players, two under the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts, leaving OKC the option of adding players in a potential two-for-one trade, signing any of its second-round picks (Hamidou Diallo, Devon Hall, Kevin Hervey) to second-round minimum deals, or signing one of its two-way players from a season ago (Daniel Hamilton, P.J. Dozier) to a guaranteed contract.”

Kevin O’Connor (Ringer) on Dennis Schroder potentially opening up a new side of Russell Westbrook: “But Westbrook will average around 35 minutes, which means he’ll share the floor plenty with Schröder. This is where the relationship will be made or broken. If Westbrook and Schröder coexist, Donovan will be able to install more pace and ball-movement concepts featuring multiple ball handlers running the show, rather than relying on just Westbrook as the frontman. If Schröder initiates offensive sets, it frees Westbrook to be used as a screener either on the ball in a 1-2 pick-and-roll to target a mismatch or off the ball as part of a more extravagant action. It’s not like taking the ball out of Westbrook’s hands at the start of a possession means he’ll shoot it any less. It just would change the quality of the shots. The goal should be fewer contested midrange pull-ups and more layups off of cuts, spot-up chances leading to drives, and catch-and-shoot 3s.”

Clay Horning (Norman Transcript) on the Thunder’s big offseason: “The moment Paul George agreed to a long-term contract, it became a banner offseason for the Oklahoma City Thunder. It became even better when Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel and Raymond Felton agreed to deals of their own. However, what’s happened in only the last few days — the jettisoning of Carmelo Anthony and Dakari Johnson and the welcoming of Dennis Schroder, Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot and Rodney Purvis — could impact the Thunder in myriad positive ways. Though it had been known for two weeks the team and Anthony had agreed to work together to get Anthony out of Oklahoma City after a single season, how that might happen remained unknown. Now we know. Now we can assess. In so doing, here are five takeaways from the flurry of Thunder activity that took place Thursday and Friday.”

Berry Tramel on Sam Presti upgrading the roster with untradeable contracts: “Started with Kanter, an old-fashioned back-to-the-basket brute who still is an effective player but is a dinosaur in the playoffs, where coaches can create nightmare matchups for OKC. “Can’t play Kanter,” Billy Donovan famously said from the bench in the 2017 playoffs. So in came Carmelo, and Carmelo could ostensibly find open outside shots, and outside shooting is a staple of contemporary NBA contenders. Seemed like the Thunder had traded a likable commodity for a valuable commodity. Carmelo wasn’t half-bad for the Thunder. He also was only half-good. His shooting was OK, nothing special. Carmelo’s effort was limited by his diminished athletic ability. The Thunder is at its best when the Russell Westbrook Express is in high gear. Carmelo had trouble keeping up. He was mostly between the foul lines. His defense was acceptable until the playoffs, when Utah forced Donovan to curtail Carmelo’s minutes. Now comes Schroder. Another minus-defender, but Schroder can score and pass. He can get into the lane and cause trouble for defenses. Schroder’s 3-point shot is no real threat, so he creates space for teammates not by stretching the defense, but by contracting the defense. Drive and dish. Maybe to someone else who drives and dish.”

Madeline Chapman on ghostwriting Steven Adams’ autobiography: “He made me scull a pint of Guinness at 12pm on a Monday. I’d never drunk a Guinness nor did I have any desire to on an empty stomach, but Steven said we were downing a pint and what Steven says, goes. It was June 2017. Steven was home for the off-season after the Oklahoma City Thunder finished a disappointing, yet somehow impressive, season with a loss to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs. It was the Thunder’s first season without Kevin Durant, and Steven was suddenly the second most valuable player on the Thunder roster behind Russell Westbrook, though if you told him that he’d say something along the lines of just doing my job, mate. As I learned over the next year, Steven has always liked routine. Growing up, his least productive years were those spent without someone guiding him or giving him something to do. In Wellington as a teen, he had his weeks planned out in half-hour increments, with time split between school, training, gym, and games. Routine works for Steven, and in the 2017 offseason, his routine included sculling a pint of Guinness before lunch.”

Abhinav Kini (Intnl Business Times) on KD’s departure still stinging Enes Kanter: “Kanter is one who has repeatedly spoken out against Durant’s move and in an appearance on “Undisputed” on Monday, he spoke about how the events transpired. “Let me say this, a lot of people don’t know because I’m so hard on Durant — I actually texted him after he made his decision,” Kanter explained. “I said, ‘hey, good luck man.’ In the end it’s business. He did text back. After that I learned he did not even text one person. That hurt me and that hurt us. We were like brothers, we lost that series from 3-1 to 4-3. My thing was come back again and try to do it again next year. Everybody was shocked when he signed with Golden State, they just won 73 games, they don’t need no help. Signing with Golden State [was what was shocking]. I would not be cool [if he joined another team] but like Golden State! We just lost to them, they’re just breaking records. We were like brothers, you cannot do that to your brothers and that hurt everybody. Then I remember his first game back to OKC was the ugliest game ever,” he said.”

Chris Herring (FiveThirtyEight) on the Rockets being Melo’s best, last hope: “Anthony will reportedly sign with the Houston Rockets for the veteran’s minimum once he’s officially been traded to Atlanta (and then released). So with his career at a crossroads, his comments raise the questions: Can he still be effective at this point? If he can, what would that role look like? Considering the film, his numbers and the potential fit with his new teammates, Houston figures to be Anthony’s last, best hope for a situation in which he can be a productive scorer again. Much of that hope will be predicated on Anthony’s ability to play off of James Harden and Chris Paul in a more effective way than he did with Westbrook. In that regard, Anthony’s life may get easier this season. While Anthony certainly underperformed last year — and likely could have shown more willingness to accept a secondary spot-up role sooner in OKC — the fit with Westbrook wasn’t always ideal, either. One big reason for that: Westbrook, despite being a triple-double machine, isn’t always the most accurate passer.”

Adrian Wojnarowski on Dakari Johnson being traded from Orlando to Memphis: “The Memphis Grizzlies traded forward Jarell Martin and cash to the Orlando Magic for center Dakari Johnson. The deal, which was announced Monday, includes the Magic sending Memphis the draft rights to Tyler Harvey, a 2015 second-round pick. The Grizzlies will save on salary and luxury tax with the deal, dropping them $473,000 below the luxury tax. Martin was the 25th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft and averaged a career-best 7.7 points and 4.4 rebounds last season. He started 36 games for Memphis. The Magic plan to use Martin in a reserve role behind forwards Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon. Orlando obtained Johnson in a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.”

Around the League: Carmelo will reportedly sign for the vet minimum in Houston…. Looking at Melo’s fit in Houston…. Will Melo accept a bench role with the Rockets?…. Dirk will be back for his 21st season in Dallas…. Trae Young’s success will depend on dominating off the ball…. The best buzzer-beaters from last season.