Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Thunder sign Dakari Johnson

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed center Dakari Johnson, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

During the 2016-17 G League season, Johnson played in 49 games (all starts), leading the Oklahoma City Blue to its first Southwest Division title, as he averaged a team-leading 18.5 points per game (13th in the league) and 7.9 rebounds in 29.0 minutes. He set career highs in points, assists (2.3), blocks (1.27) and field goal percentage (.557) in the regular season.

“Dakari is the latest Thunder player to have benefitted from his commitment to his development plan with the Blue,” said Presti. “As a result, he showed tremendous growth on both ends of the floor over the past two seasons and is ready to embark on his NBA career more prepared. Dakari adds to the core of young talent on our roster that we feel is an important tenet to our ability to sustain our success as we enter into a decade of Thunder basketball.”

The center was named Performer of the Week twice and was named the Player of the Month for November this past season. Johnson became the first player in franchise history to be named to the All-NBA G League First Team and was selected to the G League All Star Game.

Johnson’s assists ranked first among all centers in the G League last season and he contributed a career-high 13 double-doubles while scoring in double figures 45 times.

Originally selected No. 48 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, the University of Kentucky standout spent two full seasons with the Blue, appearing in 99 games (96 starts), and tallying 15.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.21 blocks in 28.3 minutes.

Big changes to Thunder starting lineup

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the Thunder, who need to rely quite so much on Russell Westbrook now with Paul George on board. As for the bench, Raymond Felton is joining the squad:

The Thunder starting lineup has undergone a massive change. Out: Victor Oladipo, Taj Gibson. In: Paul George and likely Patrick Patterson.

The Thunder bench, not so much. Let’s see. Down the stretch of last season and in the playoffs, OKC’s bench was Semaj Christon (or Norris Cole) at point guard, Enes Kanter at center, Doug McDermott and Alex Abrines on the wings, and either Jerami Grant or Domantas Sabonis at power forward. Sabonis is out, but Grant is still here. So the only difference is at point guard.

Can Raymond Felton make that much difference?

Well, it’s a definite upgrade, at least offensively.

Pacers trade Paul George to Thunder

Pacers trade Paul George to Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for guard Victor Oladipo and forward Domantas Sabonis, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today.

George, (6-9, 220), averaged a career-high 23.7 points on a career-best 46.1 percent (622-of-1348 FG) shooting from the field and 39.3 percent (195-of-496 3FG) from long distance, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.59 steals and 35.9 minutes in 75 games (all starts) with Indiana during the 2016-17 season.

“We are excited to welcome Paul George to the Thunder family and the Oklahoma City community,” said Presti. “Paul is a tremendous fit for our organization on and off the floor. He represents all the positive traits of an elite competitor, and we have long admired his relentless pursuit to improve and his ability to impact on-court success. His skill set is dynamic and at the forefront of the evolution of the game, yet he combines this with traditional and historical values and will. We are fortunate to have an incredibly unique player wear the Thunder Blue and know he will help us as we continue to build the legacy of the Thunder in real time.”

The four-time All-Star owns career averages of 18.1 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.65 steals and 32.8 minutes in 448 games (400 starts) over seven seasons with the Pacers. He was the winner of the 2012-13 Most Improved Player Award, has earned All-NBA Third Team honors three times and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team once and All-Defensive Second Team twice.

Selected 10th overall by Indiana in the 2010 NBA Draft, George guided the Pacers to the playoffs in each of the six seasons in which he appeared in 60 or more games and he helped lead Indiana to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2012-13 and 2013-14. George owns career playoff averages of 19.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.72 steals in 43.0 minutes in 65 games (all starts).

The Fresno State product was a member of the 2016 U.S. Men’s National Team which took Gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. He appeared in all eight games (two starts) and averaged 11.3 points (fourth on team), 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.50 steals (first on team).

“We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks, that is why we sought them out to be part of this deal.”

Victor Oladipo was drafted by the Orlando Magic as the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. As a rookie with the Magic, he was named to the 2013-14 NBA All-Rookie First Team and was twice named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month (December and February). He played three seasons with the Magic before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder in June 2016. In his four seasons in the NBA, the 6-4, 210-pound guard has career averages of 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Oladipo played collegiately at Indiana University for three years with averages of 10.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Domantas Sabonis was drafted with the 11th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, also by the Orlando Magic, before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder later that evening as part of the same trade that sent Oladipo to the Thunder. As a rookie with the Thunder, Sabonis played in 81 games (66 starts) and averaged 5.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. He played collegiately at Gonzaga for two years with averages of 13.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

“As for the trade, it was difficult both on a personal and professional level,” said Pritchard. “Everyone here knows what Paul meant to this franchise; he was both a tremendous human being as well as player here for seven years. We thank Paul and his family for their contributions to the Pacers and wish him well.”

Russell Westbrook wins 2016-17 NBA MVP award

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was named the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2016-17 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, it was announced this evening during the first-ever NBA Awards Show.

Westbrook earned MVP honors after joining Oscar Roberson as the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook registered a league-best 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds (10th in the NBA), 10.4 assists (third in the NBA) and 1.63 steals in 34.6 minutes per game.

During the 2016-17 season, Westbrook established a new NBA record with 42 triple-doubles (Oklahoma City went 33-9 in those games) as he helped lead the Thunder to a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The six-time All-Star and two-time All-Star game MVP recorded triple-doubles in seven consecutive games on two separate occasions this past season (11/25-12/9 and 3/22-4/4), to become the first player in NBA history to accomplish the feat. He was named Western Conference Player of the Month for November and February and earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors four times.

In winning his second scoring title in three seasons, Westbrook paced the NBA in games with at least 20 points (72), 30 points (44), 40 points (18) and 50 points (four).

Last month Westbrook was named to the All-NBA First Team for a second consecutive season after receiving 99 First Team votes (498 total points).

The NBA MVP trophy is named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA who served from 1946 until his retirement in 1963.

Andre Roberson named to NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Andre Roberson was named to the 2016-17 NBA All-Defensive Second Team, it was announced today by the NBA.

In 79 games (all starts) this past season, Roberson averaged 6.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.19 steals and 1.00 block in 30.1 minutes per contest. His 1.00 block and 5.1 rebounds per game ranked third and 12th, respectively among perimeter players.

With Roberson on the floor this past season, the Thunder posted a 106.3 defensive rating, which would have ranked fifth best in the NBA. Oklahoma City’s defensive rating was 4.6 points per 100 possessions better when Roberson was on the floor.

According to ESPN’s Defensive RPM metric, Roberson ranked first among shooting guards with a DRPM of 2.64. DRPM estimates a player’s impact on team defense, measured in points allowed per 100 defensive possessions.

Thunder sign Norris Cole

Thunder sign Norris Cole

The Oklahoma City Thunder signed guard Norris Cole, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Cole (6-2, 175), a two-time NBA Champion, owns career averages 7.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 22.7 minutes in 347 games (60 starts) over five seasons with Miami and New Orleans. The 28th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, he most recently played with the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association.

bulls trade taj gibson

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has acquired guards Cameron Payne and Anthony Morrow (MORE-roe), and center/forward Joffrey Lauvergne (LA-vern) from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for forwards Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round draft pick.

In his second year in the NBA, Payne (6-3, 185) is averaging 5.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 20 games played after missing 35 due to a right foot fracture and two to a D-League assignment with the Oklahoma City Blue. He has scored in double figures twice this season. In 77 career contests (one start), Payne holds averages of 5.1 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 13.2 minutes played. He has career shooting averages of .385 from the field, .319 from long range and .821 from the foul line.

In his ninth NBA season, Morrow (6-5, 210) has appeared in 40 games (seven starts) and is posting averages of 5.8 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 15.7 minutes per game. He is shooting .387 from the field, .294 from three and .885 from the line for the year. He has eight games with double-digit scoring, and a season high of 21 points vs. Detroit on Nov. 26. In 555 career contests (142 starts), Morrow is averaging 9.5 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 22.0 minutes. For his career, Morrow is shooting .447 overall, .417 from distance (5th among active players) and .878 from the stripe. In 2008-09, his three-point percentage of .467 ranked first in the league, and he has had five total seasons where his three-point percentage has ranked in the top 10.

In his third season in the NBA, Lauvergne (6-11, 220) is averaging 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists across 50 games this year while shooting .455 from the field, .346 from three and .638 from the charity stripe. He’s scored in double figures eight times with a season high of 17 points on Feb. 13 at Washington, which tied Russell Westbrook for the Thunder high in that game. In 133 career appearances (16 starts), Lauvergne is posting averages of 6.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.9 assists in 15.4 minutes played. He is shooting .480 from the field, .293 from distance and .755 from the line for his career. Lauvergne will be the fourth international player on the Bulls roster.

Gibson was selected by the Bulls with the 26th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He is averaging 11.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.91 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game this season and is shooting .521 from the field, .167 from three and .714 from the line.

In 562 career contests (229 starts) with Chicago, Gibson held averages of 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.24 blocks and shot .495 from the field and .694 from the stripe. Gibson ranks in the top-10 of several Bulls franchise leader categories, including games played (10th), offensive rebounds (sixth), defensive rebounds (ninth) and blocks (fifth). Gibson also appeared in 56 playoff games (seven starts) for the Bulls and averaged 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.16 blocks while shooting .499 overall and .691 at the free-throw line.

In his third season, McDermott is averaging 10.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist and 24.5 minutes in 44 games. McDermott is shooting .445 from the field, .376 from long range and .881 at the line. For his career, McDermott is posting averages of 8.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists and 20.2 minutes across 161 games (eight starts). He is shooting .445 overall, .399 from three and .849 from the foul line. In three career playoff games for Chicago, McDermott averaged 1.7 points in 3.3 minutes of action.

Dakari Johnson of the Oklahoma City Blue today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 30, through Sunday, Feb 5.

Johnson (7-0, Kentucky) led Oklahoma City to a 2-1 week, averaging 24.3 points on 60.9 percent shooting to go with 10.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists. On Jan. 31, he notched a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds in a 120-115 overtime victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Johnson scored the first four points of overtime to help secure the win, which moved Oklahoma City into first place in the Southwest Division. On Feb. 4, he logged his 10th double-double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 106-86 win over the Los Angeles D-Fenders.

Johnson is averaging 18.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals on the season. This is the second Performer of the Week award for Johnson, who was the 48th pick in NBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm.

Other top performers considered included Austin’s Hollis Thompson, Canton’s Quinn Cook, Delaware’s Shawn Long, Fort Wayne’s Ben Bentil, Grand Rapids’ Jordan Crawford, Greensboro’s Cheick Diallo (on assignment by the New Orleans Pelicans), Los Angeles’ David Nwaba, Northern Arizona’s Elijah Millsap, Raptors 905’s Brady Heslip, Rio Grande Valley’s Darius Morris, Sioux Falls’ Keith Benson, Westchester’s Von Wafer and Windy City’s Denzel Valentine.

Enes Kanter injured, out after arm surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter underwent successful surgery today to repair a fractured right ulna (in his right forearm), it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Kanter sustained the injury during last night’s 109-98 victory over Dallas. During a timeout, he expressed his frustration by hitting a chair. The result? A fractured forearm. 

This season, the sixth-year center has recorded 12 double-doubles and is averaging 14.4 points on .563 percent shooting from the floor, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 21.6 minutes in 47 games.

Kanter has come off the bench every game this season for OKC, but he’s still one of their most important players. He’s third on the team in both points and rebounds per game. 

He will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks at which time a further update will be provided.

Enes Kanter punches chair, breaks arm

The OKC Thunder (now 28-19, 6th best record in Western conference) bring center Enes Kanter (zero starts in 47 games this season) off the bench, but he’s still one of the team’s key players. Kanter’s 14.4 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game both rank 3rd on the squad. But a quick showing of frustration will reportedly keep Kanter out of action for the near future. Here’s the Oklahoman:

Enes Kanter punches chair, breaks arm

The Thunder survived January. The same cannot be said of Enes Kanter.

A night of frustration ended in victory for the Thunder, who rode Russell Westbrook’s late flurry to a 109-98 victory over a makeshift Dallas team. But Kanter’s night ended earlier, in the second quarter, when the valuable sixth man suffered a fractured arm when he slammed it on the back of a chair in frustration.

That means the Thunder almost surely goes into February – and remaining January road games at Cleveland and San Antonio – without the scorer and rebounder who makes the Thunder bench bearable at times.

Russell Westbrook gets amazingly fast triple-double

Jim Tucker was popping champagne Saturday night, and not just because it was New Year’s Eve. The 1950s NBAer cult-famous for owning the title of “fastest man to record a triple-double in an NBA game” can rest easy after Oklahoma City’s 114-88 demolition of the L.A. Clippers.

Russell Westbrook forced him to wait nearly until 2017, though.

Westbrook finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists in the win. And more impressively, the rebound he pulled down with under a minute to go in the second quarter gave him a triple-double for the game. He had played only 18 minutes, 42 seconds at that point, about a minute off Tucker’s record for the quickest triple-double ever.

“He really played an incredible floor game,” coach Billy Donovan said. “And I thought he did an incredible job, not even necessarily having to rely on his scoring, but he did a great job in terms of setting everybody else up.”

Tucker went for 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists on Feb. 20, 1955.

Norman Transcript

Quick Take: Westbrook is having one of the best seasons in modern basketball history. He’s a basketball wrecking crew, and a must-watch player every night. And one of the top stories of the season.

Bench steps up for Thunder vs Heat

Bench steps up for Thunder vs Heat

Russell Westbrook isn’t the only man playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder won at the Miami Heat on Friday. And even though Westbrook was sitting with another triple-double, his league-leading 15th of the season, by the third quarter, the Thunder didn’t necessarily ache for every one of his numbers. And that’s a concept which was foreign to OKC basketball fans a week ago.

The Thunder got off to a 22-point lead by the second quarter Tuesday and maintained a double-digit advantage for the rest of the game, cruising to a 106-94 victory over the injury-laden, 10-22 Heat. And even as Westbrook finished his magnificent 29-point, 17-rebound, 11-assist night, even if the Thunder were plus-12 with him on the floor, his sovereignty wasn’t the story. For another evening, the stability came from a part of the team which has been criticized for much of the season: The bench.

“It’s great to see those guys continue to get better,” coach Billy Donovan said. “They’re developing a chemistry and a bond. They’re making each other better.”

– Norman Transcript

Quick Take: No matter how great one player is, basketball is a team game. Nobody can do it alone. And really, the same can be said for life itself. But, also basketball.

Russell Westbrook dishes career-high 22 assists

Russell Westbrook could have taken a 3-pointer, but he stutter-stopped and drove left. The slight hesitation and a screen from Steven Adams was enough to provide a mismatch Westbrook identified immediately.

When he picked up his dribble, the 7-foot Adams was on the weak side towering over Westbrook’s initial defender, 6-5 P.J. Tucker. Westbrook saw it and lofted a perfectly-weighted pass over Tucker to Adams for an easy layup.

It was one of a gamut of brilliant passes from Westbrook, as the assists reached double digits before the points or rebounds in his league-leading 13th triple-double.

In the Thunder’s 114-101 win, Westbrook finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 22 assists.

Oklahoman

Quick Take: Victor Oladipo was out, so Westbrook had to do even more than usual. His production is incredible. Westbrook is doing things few players in the modern era of pro basketball are capable of doing.

Oklahoma City Blue center Dakari Johnson today was named the NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in November. The honor, the first of the 2016-17 season, is also the first of Johnson’s NBA D-League career.

Johnson (7-0, Kentucky) led Oklahoma City to a 6-3 record behind averages of 19.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 blocked shots (tied for fourth in the NBA D-League). He scored at least 20 points in six games and tallied four point-rebound double-doubles.

On Nov. 26, he recorded 20 points (on 7-for-11 shooting from the field) to go with six rebounds and a career-high five blocks in a 107-104 victory over the Canton Charge. Johnson closed the month by scoring a career-high 28 points, grabbing a season-high-tying 11 rebounds and handing out a season-high five assists in a 117-108 loss to the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Nov. 29.

Other players who received consideration for the monthly award were Austin’s Patricio Garino, Fort Wayne’s Julyan Stone, Grand Rapids’ Ray McCallum and Kevin Murphy, Los Angeles’ Justin Harper, Maine’s Jalen Jones, Westchester’s Chasson Randle and Windy City’s Spencer Dinwiddie.

A lot of people in the national celebrity spotlight aren’t looking to discuss politics or election results. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting on Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook:

Russell Westbrook not looking to discuss election results

Russell Westbrook wasn’t getting in line next to the supporters of President-elect Donald Trump after the GOP nominee won the presidency Tuesday night.

“I didn’t vote for Trump. I can tell you that much,” Westbrook said. “That’s all I’m gonna say.”

A reporter followed up, asking another election-related question. Westbrook didn’t budge.

“I just told you, I didn’t vote for Trump,” he said. “I would prefer not to elaborate on it, but I didn’t vote for him.”

– Oklahoman

The Thunder today assigned forward Josh Huestis to the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League.

During the 2015-16 season, Huestis appeared in five games for the Thunder, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game. Huestis has not yet appeared in a game with the Thunder during the 2016-17 season.

In two seasons with the Blue, Huestis has appeared in 69 games (68 starts) and posted averages of 11.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.52 blocks in 32.7 minutes.

Huestis is being assigned in order to participate in today’s Oklahoma City Blue practice.

The Oklahoma City Thunder has acquired forward Jerami Grant and a trade exception from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for forward Ersan Ilyasova and a protected draft pick, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today.

Oklahoma City will convey its first round pick, in the first allowable draft beginning in 2020, unless that pick falls within the top 20 picks of that year’s draft. If the pick is within the top 20, the Thunder will instead send the 76ers its own second round draft picks in 2022 and 2023.

The 22-year-old Grant (6-8, 210) has appeared in 144 games (63 starts) over three seasons with Philadelphia, averaging 8.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.38 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. This season, Grant is averaging 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds 2.00 blocks and 20.5 minutes per contest.

Originally selected by the 76ers with the 39th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Grant spent two seasons at Syracuse where he averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds as a sophomore. He scored in in double-figures in 24 of his 32 games played that season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder exercised its third-year options on forward Josh Huestis and guard Cameron Payne, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

During the 2015-16 season, Huestis appeared in five games for the Thunder, averaging 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 11.0 minutes per game. Originally drafted by Oklahoma City with the 29th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Stanford product spent the 2014-15 season with the Oklahoma City Blue, averaging 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.57 blocks in 33.1 minutes per game.

Payne, the 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft, averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games (one start) during his rookie season. In two seasons at Murray State, the Memphis native averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 assists 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 32.4 minutes per contest.

The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forwards Mitch McGary and Chris Wright along with guard Ronnie Price and center Kaleb Tarczewski, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

McGary saw action in 52 games (two starts) during the past two seasons with Oklahoma City while recording averages of 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per game.

Wright appeared in one preseason contest with the Thunder.

Price appeared in five preseason games with the Thunder and averaged 1.0 point, 2.0 assists and 1.20 steals in 13.6 minutes per game.

Tarczewski played in two preseason contests with Oklahoma City and registered averages of 2.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.00 block in 10.9 minutes per game.

Oklahoma City’s roster now stands at 15.

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

Thunder sign Reggie Williams

The OKC Thunder signed guard Reggie Williams today.

Williams (6-6, 205) spent the 2015-16 season in Russia with Avtodor Saratov, appearing in 16 games and averaging 13.6 points on 58.8% shooting from the field including 40.7% from long distance, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25.0 minutes per contest.

The guard has appeared in 200 career NBA games (32 starts) with Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Charlotte and Golden State. He holds career averages of 7.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.3 minutes. The VMI product has also played internationally for San Miguel Beerman of the Philippines (2014), Caja Laboral of Spain (2011) and JDA Dijon of France (2008-09).

In a related move, the Thunder waived guard Alex Caruso who was originally signed by the club on Sept. 23rd.

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