Happy Independence Day, folks. Just another day..
Jon Hamm’s Q&A on OKC’s options in keeping Paul George: “Oklahoma City will be able to offer a 5-year contract starting at the max salary (currently estimated to be $30.6 million for him) with 8 percent annual raises off that base salary. Other teams can offer the same starting max salary, but only for up to four seasons with 5 percent raises. The estimated difference between the two: five years and $177 million from his prior team (Oklahoma City in this case), or four years and $131 million from another.”
Erik Horne on how FIBA clearance is also holding up Terrance Ferguson’s rookie deal: “Unlike other prospects typically entering the NBA, Ferguson, 19, is coming off a season as a professional for the Adelaide 36ers in Australia. Players coming from overseas are required to get a letter of clearance from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) in order to play, and Ferguson hasn’t received his yet, a Thunder spokesperson told The Oklahoman on Monday.”
Berry Tramel on why the Thunder will miss Taj Gibson: “The Thunder couldn’t possibly match that kind of salary, even for a valuable player like Gibson. Gibson offers the kind of defensive versatility that is mandatory for NBA success these days. Gibson can guard the post and he can stay with smaller players on the perimeter, to some degree.”
Andrew Sharp discusses how the Paul George trade crippled the Eastern Conference: “Eastern Conference incompetence has been a joke for the better part of 20 years, but it’s official as of this weekend. There are memes and everything. Of the 20 best players in the NBA, there are four who play in the East: LeBron, Giannis, Wall, Kyrie. You could probably include Isaiah Thomas as well, but either way, roughly 75% of the league’s superstars will be in the West next season.”
Tom Haberstroh puts OKC fifth in the “superteam” rankings: “What a coup by GM Sam Presti. Not only did Presti nab a star without giving up much, but he also indirectly depressed the trade market in case he wanted to add a third star. George isn’t the same caliber as Durant, but he’s a surefire top-20 player for the Thunder to pair with Westbrook. This team is one move away from being a superteam, which seemed little more than a pipe dream a week ago.”
Matt Craig’s recap/video recap of yesterday’s summer league win: “The story of the day was Josh Huestis, who bounced back from 3/14 shooting on Saturday to score 26 points, putting on a shooting display that included four triples and three or four thunderous dunks. During a stretch in the 3rd quarter, he applied his signature on-ball defense and created a steal on one end, then threw down a huge dunk in semi-transition on the other.”
Fred Katz spoke to Josh Huestis about how he learned of the Paul George trade: “I was in my hotel room, and I got a text [from rookie Domantas Sabonis] that told me it happened,” Thunder forward and summer league participant Josh Huestis said. “Literally nobody had any idea that was even on the table or an option. But I was really excited to see it, obviously. He’s an All-Star, incredible player. He makes our team better.”
Erik Horne on Paul George’s path to Oklahoma City: “The Thunder has long had interest in George and tried to trade for him this past season, a source told The Oklahoman. But for all its impact, the George trade was stunning, even for those who’d known the Thunder’s admiration for the four-time All-Star.”
Danny Chau on the impact of KD’s substantial (volunteered) pay cut: “It’s noble in a way, but taking demonstrably less than his full market value hurts the players union as a whole (since most players don’t have the same access to alternative avenues of income that Durant does). Durant’s decision makes it painfully clear that it will always be the players who have to make “sacrifices,” never the owners.”
ESPN’s running list of every free agency signing: Popular yesterday. Pretty straight-forward.
Enjoy your 4th. Be safe out there.