Oklahoma City Thunder Rumors
While Durant was always the best player on the Thunder during his tenure in OKC, Smith is reporting Westbrook had trouble following KD as the team’s leader for a couple of reasons. “Several people have come up to me. A couple of people who used to play in Oklahoma City. Several people that are incredibly familiar with the history of KD in Oklahoma City. They said when he was in Oklahoma City, he wasn’t viewed as the leader,” Smith said on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday. “They said it was hard for Russell Westbrook to follow him because KD, the man that you see right now, was a boy back then. And Russell Westbrook came in a man. “So to go to Russell Westbrook and to ask him to follow that guy, Russell Westbrook was a man lookin’ at you like you’re asking him to follow a boy. I’m quoting. I’m not tellin’ you who. But I’m quoting folks that said that and it was more than one person.”
The leader of the German squad Dennis Schroder got some criticism for the failure, especially for the loss against the Dominican Republic, but he doesn’t have a problem with it: “Either I play my game or I do not play at all. I try to put my teammates in the spotlight, I did that today and the last two games. There will always be criticism, I’m built for it, no problem for me”, he said, per Sport1.
Chris Haynes: Devon Hall – a guard selected by OKlahoma City with the 53rd pick in 2018 Draft- has reached an agreement on a two-way contract with the franchise, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
In the lead-up to the Harden deal, the Thunder made calls on young players with star potential, including (according to reports and sources at the time) Beal, Thompson and Jonas Valanciunas. (I would be surprised if they did not call New Orleans about Davis.) They wanted a third star.
After 14 years in the league, what keeps you going? Chris Paul: My competitive nature. And my family and my team — all my homies that I grew up with and everybody who supports me. I think when I go out and play, it’s never just about me; it’s about my whole squad. I feel a lot better than I did a few years ago, and that’s just from experience, learning and never just being satisfied. I think one of the biggest issues with a lot of people is they get in this league and they get complacent, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m here. I’ll just be here.” No. There’s somebody coming to try to take your job. And for me, that’s not an option. You’re not taking my job. No.
How has your body changed since you entered the NBA? Oh man. It’s changed dramatically. My rookie year there was a McDonald’s right by where we practiced, and I’d stop and get a McGriddle combo every day. Every day. And I’d usually get an extra hash brown and try to get a bigger orange juice. And I would get home, and my brother and I would get Chick-fil-A. As long as it wasn’t Sunday, we would get Chick-fil-A on the way home. And then we would usually order pizza at night. We didn’t know any different.
Why did you decide to go vegan? Chris Paul: I wanted to try it. Any great athlete is always looking for an edge, so I said, let me see how this affects my performance. Right now it’s just the offseason, but hopefully I can stick it out into the regular season.
The case is two-fold, the sources said. First, there is the idea that Anthony was used as a scapegoat, which began in New York after the 2016-17 season, then for the Oklahoma City Thunder the following year. Last season, it was Anthony who took the fall for the 4-6 start in Houston. He was let go after 13 games and no other team re-signed him. But Anthony’s camp has been pushing the line that he got more blame than he deserves in each case.
The second leg of the pitch Anthony is making to teams could prove to be appealing when it comes to those concerned that Anthony would be a locker-room distraction: He’s a good distraction. “That’s the idea,” the source said. “He’s got a lot of friends in the league, he is liked by other players. He’s got friends in the media. He doesn’t get into trouble off the court, he never has. They’re really disputing this whole idea that he’s a team cancer.”
Danilo Gallinari: Check this out. Me and @Marco Belinelli playing some 🏓 one o one. Chi vincera’? pic.twitter.com/Skm9SYhb6w
In a 92-61 win against Angola on Monday, Gallinari wasn’t as efficient as his opening round performance against the Philippines, but the Italians again made quick work of an inferior opponent in Group D play in China. Against Angola, Gallinari had seven points, six rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. Gallinari shot 3-of-7 from the field and missed his two 3-point attempts, but his engaged defense and aggression on offense helped Italy burst out to a 25-11 lead after the first quarter.
“Like the first game against the Philippines, I think we approached the game in the right way,” said Italy guard Marco Belinelli, who scored a team-high 17 points. “Everybody was aggressive on offense and defense.”
Last season, Andre Roberson targeted a return to action in preseason but instead ended up missing the entire season after two setbacks in the fall during rehab. John Roberson thinks Andre is in a better spot compared to last preseason. “He feels really good,” John said. “When you get injured, it takes a toll on you mentally because you’re constantly doubting yourself and that things are going to hold up mentally. I think that’s the biggest hurdle he’s had to get over. I think he’s at that point where training camp will tell a whole lot.”
It’s no surprise that when Andre Roberson ruptured his left patellar tendon in January of 2018, he attacked his rehab with a vigor that led to great progress but ultimately setbacks. “I know that was disappointing for him, not being able to go out there and help the way he wanted to help,” John told The Oklahoman. “For me, it’s more important for him to be 100 percent as opposed to going out there and messing himself up further, or being a detriment to the team as opposed to being someone that’s going to actually help the team.”
“He’s very selfless,” John said. “He doesn’t care about the limelight. He doesn’t care about star status or nothing like that. Whatever the team needs is what Andre’s gonna do. That’s just who he is as a person. He was trying to deal with it and play through the pain. He’d done that for a while. It’s time to heal 100 percent and start the grinding process all over again.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent center Eric Moreland has agreed to a training camp deal with Oklahoma City, league sources tell ESPN.
A Winston-Salem man who was stabbed to death Wednesday in a grocery-store parking lot was convicted as a teenager of killing NBA star Chris Paul’s grandfather. Dorrell Queshane Brayboy, 31, of Orchid Drive was found with stab wounds in his chest in the parking lot of the Food Lion at 1499 New Walkertown Road, police said.
Brayboy, who was 15 at the time, and four other teenagers were charged with first-degree murder in the death Nathaniel Jones, 61, who was found Nov. 15, 2002, bound, gagged and beaten to death in the carport at his home in the 900 block of Moravia Street in Winston-Salem. Jones was the grandfather of Paul, a former basketball star at West Forsyth High School and Wake Forest University who now plays for Oklahoma City Thunder.
Meo Sacchetti cut out Giampaolo Ricci and Brian Sacchetti from Italy’s roster for the World Cup and the 12 remaining players to compete in China are the following: Amedeo Della Valle, Marco Belinelli, Alessandro Gentile, Paul Biligha, Luca Vitali, Danilo Gallinari, Daniel Hackett, Ariel Filloy, Jeff Brooks, Amedeo Tessitori, Awudu Abass, and Luigi Datome.
NBA All-Star Chris Paul is dribbling away from his Houston, TX, home. After being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder last month, the former Houston Rockets point guard has listed his posh property for $8.3 million. He didn’t own this massive mansion for very long—the residence last changed hands in April 2018. Although the price Paul paid is undisclosed, the home was on the market for $6.9 million.
Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown form the group that’s transformed Team USA into “Team Shamrock,” and it turns out they’re making some history along the way. One NBA team having four representatives has never happened before, according to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman. The Celtics are the first team ever to have four players on the Team USA roster at the same time. The 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden) and the 2016 Golden State Warriors (Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson) are the only other teams to have three representatives simultaneously on the roster.
Danilo Gallinari talked about his return to action in the preparation game between Serbia and Italy on Friday (23/08).Here is what the leader of the national team of Italy said after the loss to the Serbians: “I feel good today and I felt good yesterday. It was a while since I started playing and I missed the game. I had good feelings both on a personal and team level.”
Chris Paul’s next major headline as a Thunder player will be as a model. Paul is one of numerous athletes who will be featured in the final print edition of ESPN’s Body Issue. The issue has become a staple of ESPN The Magazine in the publication’s 21-year run.
Adam Wexler: Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul featured in the ESPN Body Issue. pic.twitter.com/HMnz0552JY
Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Steven Adams won hearts in Whangarei as he continued his basketball road shows around New Zealand. Adams has been involved in coaching camps around the country during his break from the NBA, and made the day of one star-struck fan by signing his ball on Sunday.
On the other side of Bazley’s internship, the Thunder selected the 19-year-old forward No. 23 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. “I feel like without me going through that internship,” Bazley told The Oklahoman, “without me having to live on my own, without me having to balance that crazy schedule, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. And I wouldn’t be ready for the position that I’m in now, that I’m about to step into.”
By the end of their first meeting, Bazley too saw that connection. He remembers telling his agent, Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul, “I want to sign, I want to sign, I want to sign.” According to Bazley, Paul responded, “Be patient.” Just a few meetings in, Bazley was prepared to officially put pen to paper. That’s when New Balance presented their vision for the internship.
As he spoke and the speaker above cut in and out, Gilgeous-Alexander balanced between a player who knows he belongs and one who understands he has plenty to learn. “I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said with no malice. “I do not have the same name, same body type, stuff like that. So, I’m just going to try to be myself and be the best me and everything else will take care of itself. “I’m just a basketball player. Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game. I know that eventually it will come out. I don’t worry about starting. I’m not worried about accolades or things like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and (stay) true to who I am.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on what he’s learned already from veteran guard and Thunder newcomer Chris Paul: “Some of the things I’d like to keep secret. I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of thinking the game, angles and things like that… His ability to get shots off at his size is what differentiates him.”
As Oklahoma City nears a rebuild, the hope is that Gilgeous-Alexander will be an integral part of whatever rises from its teardown, the first foundational piece of the Thunder’s next era. These are new expectations for him. He seemed on Thursday as unfazed by them as by that PA call for Ms. Harrington. “I am not Russell Westbrook,” said Gilgeous-Alexander, whose easy demeanor with reporters underscored the point. “We do not have the same name, same body type, nothing like that. I’m just gonna try to be myself and be the best me. Everything else will take care of itself.”
There are things he’s learned from Paul that Gilgeous-Alexander said he’d “like to keep secret,” but he said Paul has been beneficial in helping him “in terms of thinking them game.” “He’s obviously a really good player,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “He’s been a really good player for a really long time, and I guy that I looked up to growing up. So I’ll continue to learn from him as long as I get to”
Eventually, though, the expectation — at least from the outside — is that the Thunder one day will be Gilgeous-Alexander’s team, the way they once were Westbrook’s. Despite that connection, the youngster and and the former MVP have precious little in common beyond their position and eye for eclectic fashion. “He’s done obviously a lot of great things for the city and the organization,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Set the bar pretty high. But I’m not trying to chase his achievements or anything like that. He’s just done a great job and deserves to be commended for it.”
Burton’s star shined bright; he was named the league’s MVP after averaging 23.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The performance piqued the interest of the Thunder, who have scouts all over the globe mining for gems like Burton. In addition to NBA interest, the year abroad also reinforced his need for a true connection in the locker room, like the one he created among his teammates back in high school. “When I play basketball, the team I’m on becomes my family,” he said firmly. “If I don’t feel it’s a family, I can’t play there. “That’s the main reason I came to OKC, because everybody was welcoming and family-oriented.”
Burton has survived a gnashing, tempestuous sea of instability as a player over the last six years, not to mention the emotional battle he waged in losing his mother. It’s a testament to the 25-year-old’s gentle heart and soul that he’s managed to navigate through it all and still maintain humility, grace and composure as a human being. “I honor my mom daily just by how I act,” he said. “I feel that she would be proud of me daily by how I interact with people.”
Royce Young: Thunder two-way player Lu Dort has signed with agents Thad Foucher and Joe Smith of Wasserman Media Group, according to league sources. Foucher is the long-time agent agent of Russell Westbrook and Foucher and Smith also represent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Paul has three years left on his monster contract. He’ll make $38,506,482 next season, $41,358,814 in 2020-21 and has a player option worth $44,211,146 for the 2021-22 season. Paul and the Thunder likely won’t agree to a buyout, as CP3 would have to give up a lot of money. “Here’s what executives expect to happen: They expect the Thunder to put out a message that, ‘We’re not looking to trade Chris Paul. We want him here.’ Because they don’t want anybody to think they’re in panic trying to trade him,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s The Jump. “And they wanna hope that somebody has something happen where they need Chris Paul.”
Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan attended the last day of the Acropolis international tournament in Athens Greece. Donovan had the chance to remember his college days by seeing Nick Calathes playing with the Greek national team and Scottie Wilbekin with the Turkish side.
“It’s great to see Nick again, he was always a great passer and he was coached this season by Rick Pitino, who was also my coach”, said Donovan during a brief interview to the Greek national television and explained the purpose of his trip. “I am here to meet with Danilo Gallinari who is our new player in Oklahoma City. Before arriving here, I was in Germany and met with Dennis Schroder. We like to meet with our players during the summer in their home countries and of course, it’s great to see them competing at this level”.
Germany picked up another win at the VTG Supercup as they routed the Czech Republic 87-68. Dennis Schroder once again led the way with 21 points and seven assists followed by Daniel Theis’ 17 and Maodo Lo’s ten points.
The Thunder are hoping some of that greatness will rub off on Bazley as he joins a suddenly rebuilding team led — for the time being — by another member of James’ inner circle, Chris Paul. Bazley got off to a delayed start with the Thunder this summer, as he’d been officially drafted by the Utah Jazz, then had to wait to make his Las Vegas Summer League debut as a backlog of agreed-upon trades got processed in a particular order. “His ability to handle the ball at his size is really, really unique, and defensively he’s got great range for a young player at that size, as well,” Thunder GM Sam Presti said. “It’s going to be a process with him. We’ll have to be patient. We understand that. But at that range of the draft, to be able to get a player that has those ball-handling skills at 6-foot-9 is pretty unique.”
Emiliano Carchia: Italbasket forwards Danilo Gallinari and Gigi Datome ruled out for entire Acropolis Tournament. Both players have not played a single minute this summer for Italy due to injuries. The duo is expected to play in FIBA Basketball World Cup
Nicolo Melli will not play for Italy in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but two of his teammates are making progress. Danilo Gallinari is now training individually and Luigi Datome joined his teammates but is still restricted in terms of fully participating in practices, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Royce Young: On the Thunder signing Justin Patton today, it’s a three-year deal worth $5.3m, according to league sources. This year has $700k guaranteed, year two is non-guaranteed and year three has a team option. He brings the roster to 14 and actually puts OKC back over the tax by $921k.
Maddie Lee: Thunder announced it has signed 22-year-old center Justin Patton. The 76ers waived him in April. pic.twitter.com/TAu0eRcXjC
Tommy Beer: Top NBA Teams by record over the last 20 years: 1. Spurs: 1,135-489 (.699 winning percentage), 2. Mavs: 958-656 (.596), 3. Rockets: 928-696 (.571), 4. Heat: 898-726 (.553), 5. Lakers: 893-731 (.550), 6. Thunder/Sonics: 887-737 (.546), 7. Celtics: 886-737 (.546), 8. Jazz: 884-740 (.544)
Danilo Gallinari was initially expected to take part in some friendly games with the Italian national team to gear up for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. However, Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that he will probably miss all prep matches. The 31-year-old forward that underwent appendectomy last week was examined by on Oklahoma City Thunder doctor in Italy.
ShowtimeForum: 👑 @LeBron James & @Chris Paul putting in that summer work together 💪 🎥 Via LBJ (IG) pic.twitter.com/cVkk6kNMRt
That trek left him appreciating what Houston accomplished with Harden and Paul, rather than dwelling on the partnership’s abrupt ending. “We were a hamstring away from having a championship,” Tucker said, referring to Paul’s ill-timed injury in the 2018 Western Conference finals against Golden State. “You can rate it how you want and say what you want, but it was a great run. We won a franchise-record [65 games in 2017-18]. The [decision to trade Paul] is something that’s over my pay grade. I just play.”
Last month you heard your name in trade talks for Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. What did it mean to you when the Heat fell out of those discussions because they were unwilling to part with you? Bam Adebayo: “It boosted my confidence extremely. They have high expectations for me. What that means is I’ve got to go in there and be who they want me to be. I can’t take time off. I can’t lose focus of what my goal is and what their goal is for me. They passed on two All-Stars to keep me. I’m thankful for that but also it’s a business at the end of the day … their business was to keep me. I’m just out there trying to keep the main goal the main goal, which is to win.”
Emiliano Carchia: Danilo Gallinari has been dismissed from hospital where he had appendectomy on August 3. Gallo re-joined Italbasket training camp for rehabilitation. He is expected to return to action from August 12.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander announced his decision not to participate at the FIBA World Cup in China with the Canadian selection. This adds up trouble for coach Nick Nurse, who will also lack Jamal Murray this summer. Gilgeous-Alexander posted a statement on his social media, clarifying that he will focus on preparing for the next NBA season.
Michael Scotto: Sources on @The Athletic: Patrick Patterson gave up $3.5 million of his $5.7 million salary in his buyout agreement with the Oklahoma City Thunder, colleague @Shams Charania and I are told.
Danilo Gallinari underwent appendectomy yesterday. Oklahoma City Thunder forward be re-evaluated day by day and he is expected re-join Italy’s National Team training camp in mid-August ahead of World Cup.
Does it disappoint you when you see a situation like, say, Russell Westbrook, I’m sure he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City his whole career, but he had to look elsewhere once Paul George asked out? John Wall: When it gets like that, it’s nothing you really can do. Russ gave everything to that city. They love him. Without a doubt. He didn’t ask for a trade. Never will you hear me ask for a trade. The only way I’m going to get traded from D.C. is if they want to trade me themselves. And that’s one thing I think the fans will appreciate, if they ever get to that point. I’m never one of those guys that want to chase a ring or do those things. I’ve told people this before. You win a ring, nobody is going to talk about that years down the road. But if you build a legacy in a place, that’s going to go on for a long time.
In an interview with Il Foglio, il Gallo said that he will not chase money in the next free agency but he will privilege NBA title contenders. “Next summer, when I will become free agent, I will privilege a team that can fight for the NB Finals. I won’t chase money, but the chance to play for the title” Gallinari said. “NBA taught me to be a more selfish player on the court but I have not really succedded yet”.
Jovan Buha: Here are the games we know of on the Clippers’ schedule so far: Oct. 24: at Golden State (Chase Center opening), Dec. 11: at Toronto (Kawhi’s return), Dec. 25: vs. Lakers (Battle LA), March 3: at OKC (Paul George’s return)
Shams Charania: Sources: Notable superstar return games on 2019-20 NBA schedule: Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard at Toronto: Dec. 11; Lakers‘ Anthony Davis at New Orleans: Nov. 27; Nets‘ Kyrie Irving at Boston: Nov. 27; Rockets’ Russell Westbrook at Oklahoma City: Jan. 9.
Carmelo Anthony: “I talked to him [Chris Paul], I called him and James [Harden] right away. I said ‘look, just keep it honest with me: Did you know anything about this?’ If he knew anything about this then our friendship was on the line. ‘Just keep it honest with me.’ He said he didn’t know anything about this and James told me the same thing.’
Bobby Marks: Here is the math in OKC after the Patrick Patterson buyout-waiver-stretch provision: The Thunder are now $698K below the luxury tax with 13 guaranteed contracts. Last year OKC spent a league high $61.6M tax bill and have been in the tax 4 out of the 5 previous seasons.
Salman Ali: Daryl Morey: “When we brought Chris Paul in, everybody said it wasn’t going to work and this is similar. It’s going to work.” Morey mentions how Westbrook talked about moving more off the ball and cutting in the intro press conference. pic.twitter.com/A6W4P8T9Nd
Salman Ali: Daryl Morey: “They’re different players (Paul and Westbrook)… I think in our structure and what Mike (D’Antoni) is going to want (Westbrook) to do, he’s going to be great.” pic.twitter.com/6m602TtuHz
Salman Ali: Daryl Morey on his 100% guarantee that Chris Paul would return for Houston next season: “I deserve that (criticism)… I have to admit I did not anticipate Russell Westbrook to be available.” pic.twitter.com/HKGrbs3BE4
Germany will be looking to make a splash at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China with their young and exciting NBA-based trio of Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis and Maximilian Kleber. The three have been named in the 16-man squad for the tournament, which tips off in just under a month. Germany’s First Round Games in Group G will be against France (September 1), Dominican Republic (September 3) and Jordan (September 5).
After George requested his trade from the Thunder — and pushed to have it consummated within 48 hours — Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti lamented the ability of players under contract to talk with and recruit one another without penalty. It is one of many factors the league office is considering. “You have Paul George, one of our premier players in the league, who was paid very well by the team, suddenly announce, ‘Hey, I want to be traded,'” Gentry says. “You have no recourse but to get the best deal you can. “I hear players say, ‘Why is it different from a team trading us?’ Because this isn’t football, where they can say, ‘If you’re not playing well, we’re gonna cut you and you won’t get paid.’ We pay our players and it’s guaranteed.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Oklahoma City and forward Patrick Patterson have agreed to a buyout on the final season of his contract, allowing him to become a free agent, league sources tell ESPN.
Bobby Marks: Three players that will have their contracts guaranteed today if not waived by 5:00PM EST.: Dwayne Bacon (CHA-$1.6M), Derrick Jones (MIA-$1.6M) and Deonte Burton (OKC-$1.4M). In addition, Kendrick Nunn (MIA), will see his protection increase from $50K to $150K.
MAPS 4 could direct $120 million to $135 million toward upgrades and expansion of Chesapeake Energy Arena and improvements of the city-owned Oklahoma City Thunder practice facility. Keeping the city’s arena competitive among NBA teams and on the concert circuit was the focus of one of four MAPS 4 presentations reviewed by the city council Tuesday.
Many of the ideas for MAPS 4 investments are geared toward enhancing amenities for basketball fans, such as wider concourses and new eating and drinking options, expanding the building’s footprint by 70,000 square feet. Locker rooms would get a makeover, in part to accommodate the increasing number of women being hired in roles, including NBA coaches. A new scoreboard and larger video screens offering higher definition and greater clarity would replace current technology; seats and elevators would be replaced.
(Morey would not specify other teams involved in trade talks he pursued or other discussions beyond with the Thunder on the deal that was completed. He was in talks throughout that week with the Grizzlies about a deal for Andre Iguodala, according to two individuals with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking, but Morey would not confirm any other trade talks.)
“At points when it wasn’t going so well, we were wanting to do shots from the bar,” Morey said. “The discussion at that point among the basketball staff was, ‘Hey, we need to check in and see if this changes the direction.’ I guess there was a thought they might trade other guys like Russell. You never know. At this point, it was pretty unknown.” That afternoon, Morey called Presti, speaking only in general terms. He did not make an offer. He did not specify interest in Westbrook. “Most deals happen when you’re trying to find out what the other side is trying to do,” Morey said. “Got a sense of what they were trying to do. It seemed there could be a fit.”
Through it all, D’Antoni spoke often to his players, including those not directly involved. But when the deal was complete, Morey had another call to make. He had to call Paul. “I hated that call,” Morey said. “I’m sure he hated it more. He’s been such a great player for us. We were moments away from winning a title with him.”