Dan Feldman (NBC Sports) gives Oklahoma City high marks for their offseason: “The Thunder had stagnated post-Kevin Durant. They won in the high 40s and lost in the first round the last three years. Westbrook was aging. The supporting cast was expensive, especially considering the luxury-tax repeater bill. There was no clear way forward. The Clippers offered a lifeboat.”
Since it’s extremely offseason, a single emoji from Chris Paul is a bat signal for social media bloodhounds with nothing better to speculate about. That includes us.
The inciting Instagram story:
Is he giving a chill peace-out to Italy, where he was sending presumably biodegradable golf balls into a body of water?
Or a morose peace-out to Danilo Gallinari, who was also in Italy but opted to spend time touring a security company instead of showing some hospitality to his new point guard?
Or a high road peace-out to Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who gave some mildly backhanded comments on the transition from Paul to Russell Westbrook?
Or a news breaking peace-out to THE THUNDER? Tyler Herro hasn’t posted on social media for a few days, so this theory is pretty much confirmed. We should know the trade details shortly.
In other news, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is training with someone called the “guard whisperer”, which I think means he will stop acting out and lying to his parents so much?
Shams Charania (The Athletic) reports that the NBA has projected the next two salary caps to be about as expected. Wake me up when the 2032 cap projections are here and the Thunder are looking to add a couple pieces to their young core.
Bobby Burack (The Big Lead) reports that Zach Lowe has rebuffed interest from The Athletic and agreed to a multiyear extension with ESPN. He’s been tough on the Thunder but is a good bet to have an early read on how the next promising crop of OKC players start blooming.
Anne D’Innocenzio (Associated Press) says that President Trump’s tarrif wars with China could start impacting NBA jersey prices: “Until now, consumers were largely spared from higher prices in Trump’s previous round of import taxes. That has changed. Starting Sept. 1, the U .S. government began collecting 15 percent on $112 billion in Chinese imports, on a wide array of merchandise including basketball jerseys, basketball shoes, basketballs and even hoops. Higher tariffs are set to hit another batch of Chinese products — $160 billion worth on Dec. 15 and include other sports products, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association.”