4 min read

Wednesday Bolts: 6.27.18

Bobby Marks (ESPN) breaks down the summer for every NBA team: “With or without Paul George, the Thunder are heading towards the luxury tax for the fourth time in five seasons. If George returns, Oklahoma City will have a payroll of $151 million and a tax bill of $104 million. That includes filling the bench with their three second-round picks and one minimum contract. The Thunder will likely lose Grant to free agency. Bringing back the forward would add around $53 million in combined salary and taxes for one year. If George leaves, bringing back Grant certainly helps but still pushes OKC into the tax anyway. The Thunder can save $11 million by signing their second-round picks instead of free agents to the minimum exception.”

Brett Dawson on Paul George being ‘excited’ for free agency: “Daniela Rajic, George’s girlfriend and the mother of his two children, says “We’re kind of in limbo now. It’s kind of hard doing that with two kids, but whoever he goes we’ll be able to settle in and call it our home.” As for where that will be, you’ll have to stay tuned. George doesn’t offer many hints in the first episode. The second will air on Thursday during the 5 p.m. SportsCenter and the third will follow sometime after George makes his free-agent decision public. In Tuesday’s first episode, George says he’ll pick the front office that gives his team the best chance to win. “I hope I make the majority of the people happy,” George says. “But ultimately it’s my decision and I want to be the happiest I can be with that decision. And I’m excited. I’m excited to go through this journey.”

Part one of Paul George’s My Journey free agency series:

Justin Verrier (Ringer) on the future of Paul George: “As free agency approaches, the Thunder indeed appears to be up in the race for Paul George. The New York Times’s Marc Stein reported last week that contract scenarios between George and his current team are starting to circulate among rivals. On Saturday, USA Today’s Sam Amick reported that the OKC momentum is starting to ripple into LeBron’s realm: “There is all sorts of optimism in Oklahoma City that George will re-sign,” he wrote. “Conversely, there’s pessimism in James’s camp that George would leave Oklahoma City.” There’s still plenty of time for George to change his mind, but if he indeed returns to the Thunder, three pretty important discussions emerge.”

Aaron Mansfield (Complex) on a Laker fan putting up 40 PG-to-LA billboards in Los Angeles: “The Los Angeles Lakers are desperate to land Paul George in free agency—and one fan is particularly desperate. Jacob Emrani, an attorney, has paid for 40 billboards to recruit PG-13 to Hollywood. Emrani is the same fan who earlier this year paid for #LABron billboards recruiting LeBron James to the Lakers. We know it’s clever advertising and fans are intense, but this billboard thing has gotten out of control.”

Rohan Nadkarni (SI) on why Paul George is a perfect fit in Philadelphia: “Philly was shown its shortcomings during its loss to the Celtics in the playoffs. Marco Belinelli struggled to stay on the court, Robert Covington’s shooting cratered, and Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid clearly needed another dynamic talent to help ease the burden. George is the perfect fit for this team. He won’t be asked to do too much, but he’ll also be playing with unselfish, still-entering-their-prime stars. George won’t be required to be The Man every night, and he’d likely feast on open looks created by Simmons and Embiid. Philly already had an absurdly efficient offense down the stretch of the regular season. Adding George (and maybe another disgruntled two-way wing a little south of George) could truly turn the Sixers into a juggernaut.”

Erik Horne with the need-to-know terms entering free agency: “Bird exception/rights: An exception that allows a team to exceed the salary cap in order to re-sign their own free agents. A team has a player’s “Bird rights” if the player has been in the NBA for three seasons without changing teams as a free agent or clearing waivers. If a team owns a veteran’s early Bird rights (player has been in the NBA for two seasons without changing teams as a free agent or clearing waivers), it can sign a player for up to 105% of the NBA’s average player salary from the previous season, or $7.8 million. Ex.) The Thunder has Jerami Grant’s Bird rights, thus it is eligible to offer him a five-year contract with raises of up to eight percent of the salary in the first season of the contract. Other teams can only offer a four-year contract with raises of five percent of the salary of the first season of the contract.”

Cody Taylor (USA Today) on Corey Brewer hoping for a return to OKC: “Corey Brewer says he’d like to return to the Thunder next season. Brewer joined the Thunder at the beginning of March after agreeing to a buyout with the Lakers. He averaged 10.1 points in 18 regular-season games with the Thunder. “I’d like to go back to Oklahoma City but we will see how things work out. You never know in free agency.”

Nicolaus Li (HypeBeast) on the Why Not Zer0.1 Low “Quai 54”: “Rounding up the special collection, the colorful take on Russell Westbrook‘s latest signature shoe is the final part of Jordan Brand’s celebration of its annual basketball tournament. Continuing the bright tones of the “Quai 54” 2018 collection, the Why Not Zer0.1 Low “Quai 54” features a black and white upper, framed by alternating pink and green panels. A translucent blue rubber outsole elevating the court model along with Jumpman logos on the tongue and insole serve as the main branding. Priced at $120 USD, the Why Not Zer0.1 Low “Quai 54” is set to release at select Jordan Brand retailers on June 30.”

Around the League: Austin Rivers was traded to the Wizards for Marcin Gortat…. Magic Johnson says he will step down if he can’t land a prized free agent…. Gordon Hayward hopes to return by the start of next season…. The Rockets proposed a change to the NBA’s offseason schedule…. Will DeAndre Jordan be on the move soon?…. The most intriguing restricted free agents of the summer…. The clues LeBron has already dropped about his future.