Wednesday Bolts – 6.29.16
Durant on the Oladipo trade: “It’s a good move. I like Oladipo. He’s a good buddy, a friend of mine, and I’m definitely going to miss playing with Serge. He contributed so much to our organization and to the city, and he’s a pioneer for what he’s done for us and it’s always going to be remembered in OKC what he’s done for the community and his hard work on the court, so we wish him the best.”
Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer: “Durant will most likely sign a one-and-one contract with the Thunder, with a player option on the second year, which would allow him to hit free agency in 2017, when the cap is projected to rise once again. However, he’s never been a player to court the spotlight and he is only a year removed from breaking his foot, the type of injury that can instantly derail the career of a player his size. Everything else is on pause until he makes a decision, as none of the six teams he’s taking a meeting with — the Thunder, the Warriors, the Celtics, the Heat, the Spurs, and the Clippers — can afford to pass on even the slightest chance of adding a player who can change the trajectory of their franchise.”
I wrote something on Durant’s free agency.
The Thunder are playing two preseason games in Spain. Will they play against Alex Abrines, or will he be playing for them?
Lucas of The Lost Ogle: “Personally, I feel pretty good about the prospect of Durant staying in Oklahoma City for at least the next season. If the team can manage to not choke and make it to the 2017 NBA Finals, lock him in for a long-term deal. But please don’t print that on a billboard or a t-shirt or some other corny nonsense. If the man thinks that he is set up with a solid organization that can help him win one or more rings, he’s going to sign with that team. No amount of fan pandering will change his decision. Just like that Tinder date, we need to act natural, be nice, be ourselves, and hope he likes us enough to commit. If not, that’s cool. We had a fun time and made some memories that will last us for the rest of our lives. Then, we will move on and hopefully find someone else that loves us back. Unless he signs with the San Antonio Spurs. In that case, he can go straight to hell and I’m burning my KD IV’s.”
Andrew Lynch of Fox Sports suggests the… Timberwolves: “Or you would, anyway, if Durant were to join the Wolves. The one thing they’re missing right now is a go-to scorer on the wing; suffice it to say that Durant fits that bill rather perfectly. Put him next to Towns, and no team is scoring on Minnesota in the playoffs. And his presence would take the offensive burden off of Wiggins, allowing him to focus on trying to become Scottie Pippen instead of Tracy McGrady. The problem with young teams is that they’re often years away from contention. The Wolves are the rare squad built on potential that’s on the verge of taking the next step at any moment. With Durant leading the pack, the rest of the NBA would be on notice.”
Marc Spears of The Undefeated on Team USA: “And Team USA is loaded with mammoth-size, all-around skill, shooters and lots of dudes with chips on their shoulders who are happy to be given the opportunity. By the time Durant, Green, Cousins, Lowry, Jordan and their fellow American hoop stars have gold medals draped around their necks, expect the talk to be focused on how big a gap there now is with the rest of the world. “The Scream Team” will be aptly named for the pain it inflicts on the rest of the basketball world.”
Kyle Weidie of Truth About It on the Wizards striking out: “For someone who’s not shy about professing his love for the Redskins, inking the local baseball team’s logo on his body (even if it is more representative of geography than fandom), and sharing how he sometimes took the Metro to Wizards games when he was younger, a lot of seemingly petty things would rank above the opportunity to bring a professional sports championship to a region more starved for one than any other (it could be argued). Including: disenchantment over how local fans treated—celebrated—his impending free agency up until this day; and concern over the locals trying to beg, borrow, and steal away his basketball fortune. These trivial things can’t be that visible on Durant’s radar, can they? (At least John Wall thinks that the fan part “might sway him.”)”
Bobby Marks of The Vertical: “Oklahoma City, which fell one win short of the NBA Finals, improved in the short and long term with the deal. All three players bring different elements, could have an impact now and also have upside to improve. The core of the Thunder’s roster is still in its 20s, features franchise point guard Russell Westbrook, and highlights a balanced roster filled with former first-round picks, including lottery selections Sabonis, Cameron Payne and Steve Adams. The window for the Thunder would remain open for the foreseeable future. Because Durant has full Bird rights, the Thunder can exceed the cap while also offering the most years (five) and larger annual percentage increases than any other teams.”