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Wednesday Bolts: 6.28.17

Wednesday Bolts: 6.28.17

The Thunder picked up Jerami Grant’s $1.5M team option for next season: “Grant, 23, averaged just 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game coming off the bench for the Thunder. But he shot a career-best 37.7 from beyond the arc and made a defensive impact after being traded early in the season from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected first-round pick in 2020.”

Michael Jordan congratulated Russell Westbrook with a short note: “Jordan Brand sent Westbrook a package — which was shared in a story on the Jordan Brand’s official Instagram account — to commemorate his historic, triple-double-filled season. In the package there was a letter, written and signed by Jordan himself, which read: “Congrats, Russell. I got my first MVP award before my first ring, too… Keep going!

Kevin Durant offered Westbrook his congratulations in a strange way: “Despite the complex history between himself and Westbrook, Kevin Durant took a moment to congratulate his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate on the award and an unbelievable season. Durant chose a strange method to deliver the message, however. He didn’t post to Twitter … or Facebook … or SnapChat. He posted text — not a video — to his YouTube page. Did you even know you could do that?”

Fred Katz on the Thunder’s hard road to signing a big time free agent: “Already over the salary cap, they are rapidly approaching the luxury tax line. They’ll be even closer to it once they pick up forward Jerami Grant’s $1.5 million team option, which is likely, and sign this year’s first-round pick, Terrance Ferguson, deals which could bring them about $14 million over the projected cap and within $6 million of the tax line. Their financial position will limit the ability to add to the roster. They can use some tools to do it. It will just have to be on the margins — and it could be costly, depending on how far into the tax they’re willing to go.”

OKC is decorated with some new Westbrook banners and billboards: “Oklahoma City gave Russell Westbrook a big congratulations the day after he won the MVP award following his record-breaking season. The Thunder had billboards put up “all over town” with messages such as “has a good guy complex” and “is all about family.”

Westbrook appeared on LIVE with Kelly & Ryan yesterday: Russ joined LIVE With Kelly & Ryan to talk about his new hardware, his new son, his “Why Not?” motto, and more.

Brett Dawson on Westbrook’s upcoming contract negotiations: “His decision whether to accept a five-year extension will shape the long- and short-term future of the Thunder. If he elects not to, he can play 2017-18 on his current contract, then be eligible for the DPE again next summer. After losing Kevin Durant in free agency a year ago, the Thunder will face difficult decisions if Westbrook chooses not to sign the extension next month. It could be faced with the prospect of trading the MVP.”

Andre Roberson flashed some attitude yesterday:

The Rockets are reportedly serious contenders for Chris Paul: “The Houston Rockets have emerged as increasingly serious threats in the chase for soon-to-be free agent Chris Paul, according to league sources. The Rockets still have work to do in terms of clearing sufficient salary-cap space to make a representative offer for Paul, but sources said that Houston star James Harden has been advocating hard in favor of the Paul pursuit and has made his interest in teaming with the LA Clippers’ All-Star known directly to the point guard.”

So long, Phil Jackson: “The New York Knicks and team president Phil Jackson will announce that they’re parting ways early Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN. Conversations about what was best for the team’s future between Jackson and Knicks owner James Dolan accelerated this week when the franchise decided it would not buy out embattled forward Carmelo Anthony, sources said.”