Wednesday Bolts: 7.18.18
Dan Cancian (Newsweek) on the Kawhi Leonard trade and how Toronto hopes it works out like Paul George & OKC: “The news comes as a major shock to the NBA, particularly as Leonard had repeatedly been linked with a move to Los Angeles. He had demanded to be traded from San Antonio and indicated he planned to sign with the Lakers. The Spurs will send Leonard and Danny Green to Toronto and will receive DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round pick. Crucially, neither DeRozan, who has three years and $83 million left on his contract including an Early Termination Option for the 2020-21 season, nor the 2014 NBA Finals MVP appears to be particularly thrilled by the development. According to league sources quoted by ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Leonard “has no desire” to play in Toronto. DeRozan, meanwhile, was reportedly told last week that he would not be traded. However, the Raptors are reportedly determined to acquire the power forward in the hope of convincing him to sign a long-term deal in next summer’s free agency, much as the Oklahoma City Thunder did with Paul George earlier this month.”
Mike Sielski (Philly.com) on the Sixers’ rumored interest in Sam Presti and other high-level GMs: “For an organization that was supposed to be in the midst of one of the most important offseasons in its history, the Sixers have taken their time in pinpointing the person who will be charged with turning them into a championship-caliber team. Recently, they have they been publicly linked to a few external candidates, and those candidates are doozies: Houston’s Daryl Morey, per The New York Times, and San Antonio’s R.C. Buford and Oklahoma City’s Sam Presti, per The Inquirer/Daily News’s Keith Pompey. In Morey, Buford, and Presti, the Sixers reportedly targeted three of the four or five best GMs in the NBA. (Maybe they could also target Danny Ainge. That way, after the Sixers have hired him, Ainge could trade Markelle Fultz to the Celtics for Jayson Tatum and a draft pick.) Given that the Sixers have made it clear that they want an executive who is willing to collaborate with Brown and the existing personnel staff, though, no one should expect that they will persuade one of these heavyweights to take the job. ”
Cody Taylor (Thunder Wire) on Russell Westbrook being on the fence about Team USA training camp: “Russell Westbrook is reportedly unsure about participating in Team USA training camp next week, according to NBA reporter Chris Sheridan. It has been previously reported that LeBron James and Stephen Curry will not attend the training camp in Las Vegas, while it is said that Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering playing in it. Westbrook is one of 35 players selected to the national team pool, which will be narrowed down to 12 players in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.”
Zac Dubasik (Sole Collector) with a Nike PG 2 performance review: “The biggest issues with the Nike PG 1 were its fit and bulky feel, and the PG 2 went above and beyond in correcting them—those were among the biggest highlights of new model. The PG 2 still isn’t perfect though. It took a surprisingly long time to break in, and its traction took a slight step back from the original. It’s also not the most comfortable shoe ever, thanks to constant lace pressure at the top of the instep. But the good far outweighs the bad here. The forefoot lockdown is unparalleled, and the Zoom bag offers exceptional response. Then there’s the price: $110. There’s simply nothing that matches the PG 2 in terms of value. For players who favor low-tops, it’s an easy recommendation regardless of budget.”
Gina Conteh (BET) on Nina Westbrook’s new boutique in Oklahoma City: “Russell and Nina Westbrook are one fly a** couple. Nina decided to make sure all the kids of Oklahoma City can look just as fly as the Westbrooks. Russell is known for his daring outfit choices off the court. But when it comes to his coordinating ‘fits with his wife or the way they dress their fashion-forward one-year-old, Noah, the Westbrook family serves us looks on the daily. Nina is expressing her love for fashion by opening her own children’s boutique, The Little Ark OKC, which had a soft opening on July 14 and official opening on July 16. Nina’s new shop not only has sportswear for moms and babies, The Little Ark’s collection includes gifts, home décor, gadgets, and other items curated by Nina herself. They also offer classes where babies can bond with their parents. According to The Little Ark website, this boutique combines all of Nina’s collective passions in life.”
Around the League: Kawhi Leonard is being traded to Toronto for DeMarr DeRozan…. The uncertainty facing the Spurs now…. Kawhi doesn’t want to play for the Raptors (lol)…. Twitter reacts to the Kawhi/DeRozan deal…. The Grizzlies landed Garrett Temple in a trade with Sacramento…. Portland won the Summer League title…. The Lakers’ Josh Hart won Summer League MVP…. Lonzo Ball underwent microscopic knee surgery…. Kendrick Perkins was waived by the Cavs…. KD won Humanitarian of the Year.