Archive for the ‘ OKC Thunder Blog ’ Category

Thunder re-sign Raymond Felton

The Thunder re-signed guard Raymond Felton today.

Felton plays a supporting cast role on the Thunder, behind star point guard Russell Westbrook.

Per multiple reports, the deal is a one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Felton has appeared in 938 career games (659 starts), recording averages of 11.4 points, 5.4 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.21 steals in 30.3 minutes with Charlotte, New York, Denver, Portland, Dallas, the LA Clippers and most recently Oklahoma City. The 13-year NBA veteran ranks eighth among all active players with 5,044 assists and is one of 12 players in NBA history with at least 5,000 assists, 900 three-pointers and 200 blocks.

The Marion, S.C. native appeared in all 82 games (two starts) last season with the Thunder, and averaged 6.9 points, 2.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per contest.

Felton was selected fifth overall by Charlotte in the 2005 NBA Draft and was later named to the All-Rookie Second Team. Prior to entering the draft, he spent three years at North Carolina where he led the Tar Heels to the 2005 NCAA National Championship, was selected to the All-NCAA Tournament Team and received The Bob Cousy Award.

Thunder re-sign Jerami Grant

The Thunder yesterday re-signed forward Jerami Grant to a multi-year contract.

According to the Norman Transcript, “Grant had reportedly agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal earlier in the week and the Thunder have not disputed that reporting.”

Grant appeared in 81 games (one start) for Oklahoma City during the 2017-18 season and averaged 8.4 points on a career-high 53.5 percent (244-456) shooting, 3.9 rebounds and 0.95 blocks in 20.3 minutes per game.

“We are thrilled to have Jerami continue his development and career with the Thunder,” said Presti. “Jerami’s versatility and overall speed are an important aspect to our effort to evolve and build on our style of play going forward. We believe Jerami’s best basketball is in front of him.”

Grant scored his 1,000th point in a Thunder uniform this past season on March 18 at Toronto, making him the fourth player in Oklahoma City history with 1,000 points and 100 blocks in his first 150 games.

Originally selected 39th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Maryland native holds career averages of 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 21.9 minutes per contest.

Thunder re-sign Paul George

The Thunder on Friday re-signed forward Paul George to a multi-year contract.

“Paul’s commitment to Oklahoma City is a moment that Thunder fans will long remember and greatly value in our franchise’s history,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “We deeply appreciate his dedication, genuine sincerity and drive to contribute to the Thunder and our community. We are so happy he and his family will remain a part of the Thunder organization and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of Thunder basketball.”

The five-time NBA All-Star averaged 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals (second in NBA) during the 2017-18 season. George also averaged 4.0 deflections per game and recovered 2.7 loose balls per game, which ranked tied for third and fourth in the league, respectively. George holds a 101.59 career defensive rating which ranks fourth among all active players.

“Paul George exemplifies the traits on and off the floor that the Thunder values to the highest degree, and we are thrilled that he will continue on with our organization,” said Presti. “Paul, his family and his representation were open and collaborative throughout the season and into his free agency. It is this approach that allowed for a great partnership to be built through all reaches of the organization and community. We look forward to building our future and creating our path forward with Paul.”

George became one of five players in the past 30 years to average 20+ points on better than 40 percent three-point shooting to go along with 2+ steals this past season (Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Hersey Hawkins and Stephen Curry). George also made a career-best 244 three-point field goals, second-most in the league this past season.

Originally selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Palmdale, Calif. native was named to the 2017-18 All-NBA Third Team, which represented the fourth career All-NBA selection for George.

During the 2016 U.S. Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, George won a gold medal playing for the US National Team where he appeared in all eight games (two starts) and averaged 11.3 points (fourth on the team), 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.50 steals as the United States went a perfect 8-0 during Olympic competition.

The Thunder yesterday signed guard Deonte Burton to a Two-Way Contract.

Burton (6-5, 250) spent the 2017-18 season with Wonju Dongbu Promy of South Korea’s KBL, where he appeared in 63 games (all starts) and averaged 23.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.65 steals and 1.03 blocks in 31.1 minutes per contest while shooting 47.1 percent (549-1166) from the field.

The Milwaukee native spent two years at Marquette before transferring to Iowa State where he was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year for the 2015-16 campaign and was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team the following season. In his two years as a Cyclone, Burton appeared in 61 games (42 starts) and averaged 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.38 steals and 1.06 blocks in 25.0 minutes per game.

Per NBA rules, each team is allowed two players on Two-Way Contracts in addition to the standard 15 players on the roster. Players on Two-Way Contracts spend most of the season in the NBA G League, but can be called up to their NBA team for a maximum of 45 days.

Thunder sign Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel is still trying to establish himself in the NBA and live up to his potential. The The Oklahoma City Thunder are giving him a chance to do this, and signed the forward/center today.

According to the Oklahoman, “it’s a two-year deal — the second year is a player option — expected to be at the veteran minimum, which would pay Noel about $1.7 million next season. It’s a surprisingly low price for a 6-foot-11 former lottery pick who last season turned down a reported four-year, $70 million deal with the Mavericks, and that makes the appeal obvious.”

Noel (6-11, 220) has appeared in 223 career games (158 starts), averaging 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.56 steals and 1.41 blocks in 26.0 minutes per game while shooting 51.2 percent (847-1654) from the field with Philadelphia and Dallas. The Malden, Mass. native is one of two players in the league to average 1.5+ steals and 1.4+ blocks over the last four seasons (DeMarcus Cousins).

“We are excited to bring Nerlens to the Thunder,” said Presti. “In addition to being a multi-faceted defender‎, he moves the ball at a high level for a player at his position, which complements our existing core.”

The Kentucky product was originally selected sixth overall by New Orleans in the 2013 NBA Draft and was later named to the All-Rookie First Team.

In one year as a Wildcat, the 2013 SEC Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year started in all 24 games he appeared in and averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 4.42 blocks and 2.08 steals in 31.9 minutes per contest. Noel led the conference in total blocks with 106 on the season en route to being named to the All-SEC First Team.

The Charlotte Hornets today acquired a 2019 second-round draft pick and cash considerations from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the draft rights to Hamidou Diallo, the 45th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The Hornets acquired Diallo’s rights, along with center Timofey Mozgov, a 2021 second-round draft pick and cash considerations, from the Brooklyn Nets earlier today in exchange for Dwight Howard.

Diallo (6-5, 198), was originally selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 45th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kentucky product started all 37 games as a redshirt freshman and averaged 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.8 minutes per game and scored in double figures in 16 games.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Diallo represented the U.S. in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup and 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

It’s about to be on. Free agent mania. Great players needing new homes, and perhaps going in that route, or sticking with their current squad. Endless speculation. As for Paul George, here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting that the Sixers wouldn’t mind adding him alongside Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and friends:

ESPN is reporting that Paul George told the Oklahoma City Thunder he will opt out his $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season. The small forward has until 11:59 p.m. Friday to formerly decline the final year of his contract.

The Sixers are interested in pursuing the five-time NBA all-star to play alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to sources.

His opting out doesn’t mean that George ruled out playing for the Thunder. He’s considering a return to Oklahoma City as a free agent, according to reports. He would be eligible to make more money under that scenario.

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The Thunder weren’t an impressive team last season. Carmelo Anthony will stick around, because other teams wouldn’t offer the type of money he’ll make from OKC in 2018-19. But Paul George has options. And remember, just because George will reportedly opt out of his Thunder deal doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll leave the team. He could re-sign, for a huge new contract. Or take his talent elsewhere. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George has informed franchise officials that he will not be opting in for the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent, league sources told ESPN.

George has an 11:59 p.m. ET Friday deadline to formally decline to opt in.

George, who will decline a $20.7 million salary for the 2018-19 season, remains seriously interested in returning to the Thunder in free agency, league sources said. The Los Angeles Lakers will receive serious consideration too, sources said.

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Here’s an opinionated take from an Oklahoman column on Kevin Durant’s latest discussion as to why he chose to leave the Thunder to join the Warriors:

Kevin Durant seems to have a different take every 15 minutes on why he left the Thunder for the Warriors. You know the list. It’s long.

But here’s a new one. In a long story published in The Athletic over the weekend, Durant used “validation from my peers” as his reason for crushing parity in the NBA. Durant’s addition to an already-loaded roster lifted Golden State above all competitors while also eliminating OKC as a viable threat to the Warriors.

“Validation” from his peers is a laughable concept, of course. Durant drew all kinds of criticism from the NBA’s elite for his weak move. It’s hard to imagine any NBA player thinking more highly of Durant in the last two years than they did before his move West.

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Will Thunder keep Corey Brewer?

The Thunder face major decisions this summer. Their roster could shake up pretty dramatically, depending on what happens with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. Looking beyond those players, here’s the Oklahoman with a glance at all that is Corey Brewer:

A breakneck pace on offense. Dribbling that tenses up the muscles. Corner 3-pointers galore. Welcome to the Corey Brewer Experience.

Was the acquisition of Brewer worth it for the Thunder, and worth enough to bring back the veteran swingman for another season?

“I think the pickup of Corey late gave us some added length and size on the wing, and he did a really good job for us,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.

When the Thunder acquired Brewer on March 3, it was searching for a replacement for Andre Roberson. In the 12 days following Roberson’s season-ending knee injury on Jan. 27, Thunder general manager Sam Presti and the front office didn’t make a deal before the trade deadline. For many contending teams, the price of business at the deadline was too much. First-round picks were hoarded like water in a drought, only three changing hands in a three-month span from early November to the Feb. 8 deadline.

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Paul George undergoes medical procedures

Thunder forward Paul George, whose time with the team could end this offseason, went through more than one medical procedure recently. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

In addition to the left knee scope Paul George underwent this week, the Thunder star also had some work done on his arm.

George had been dealing with bursitis in his right elbow. Doctors drained the bursa sac to treat it, the team told The Transcript.

George spent part of this past season referring to what he called “tightness” in his right forearm. He began making the complaints in December and spoke about the tightness most recently before the Thunder played in Miami during the second-to-last game of the regular season. He said at that time doctors had “not necessarily” given him a more specific diagnosis.

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Paul George undergoes knee surgery

OKC Thunder forward Paul George underwent a left knee scope today, the team says.

George will likely be out of action six to eight weeks before returning to normal offseason activities.

In 79 games (all starts) this past NBA season, George had averages of 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.04 steals in 36.6 minutes per game. A five-time NBA All-Star, George hit a career-best 244 three-point field goals during the 2017-18 season, and became one of just five players (Larry Bird, Hersey Hawkins, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry the others) in the past 30 years to average 20+ points on better than 40.0 percent three-point shooting to go along with 2+ steals.

Alex Abrines undergoes surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines has undergone surgery to fix a sports hernia. The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers of the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia, Pa.

In the 2017-18 NBA season, Abrines played in 75 games (eight starts) for the Thunder, averaging 4.7 points per outing while shooting .380 percent from three-point range (84-221 3FGs) to go along with 1.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes.

Abrines will likely miss around six weeks before he returns to regular offseason activities.

Thunder will keep coach Billy Donovan

The Thunder have a huge upcoming summer. Both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony could stay or go. The team also needs to decide what’s best, and who makes a proper fit around Russell Westbrook. One thing they have already decided is, they do have the right coach for the job. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Billy Donovan, who is 150-96 in three seasons as the Thunder’s head coach, will return for a fourth, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday at his postseason news conference.

Presti’s hope is that Donovan, who’s faced significant roster turnover in his first two offseasons with OKC, will “be able to work with the same core of a team that has a baseline that we’ve established.”

In his hourlong meeting with the media, Presti said the organization is “disappointed” with the 2017-18 season, which ended with loss in six games to the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

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Now this is fun. Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio has a monster game Game 3 in his team’s win against the Thunder. Russell Westbrook struggled. And Westbrook was quite vocal that Game 4 will be a totally different story. Here’s the Deseret News with Rubio’s reaction to what Russ said:

So, when Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook ended Saturday’s press conference with his ballsy statement, Utah Jazz guard Ricky Rubio was certainly aware of the comments.

“He made some shots,” Westbrook said of Rubio. “Too comfortable, but I’ma shut that (expletive) off next game, though. Guarantee that.”

However, the Spanish floor general is focused on the team for Game 4, not any individual matchups with the reigning MVP. Tonight’s game is set for 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

“He makes a big deal,” Rubio said. “Of course, they lost Game 2 and Game 3, of course they’re going to come ready, not just him, we expect the whole team to come ready back and be physical, and we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing in the last couple games. We made adjustments and go for the game.”

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Last season, the Thunder was 33-9 when Westbrook posted a triple double and 13-25 when he didn’t. This season, the Thunder is 19-5 when Westbrook posts a triple double and 25-28 when he doesn’t.

So over two seasons, OKC is 52-14 when Westbrook posts a triple double and 38-53 when he doesn’t. Which is absurd, a team depending on a solitary player to produce at that kind of production level to be successful.

And that script certainly played out Tuesday night in Golden State’s 111-107 victory over the Thunder.

Westbrook didn’t have a triple double. Through no fault of his own. Westbrook had 44 points on 15-of-26 shooting, 16 rebounds and six assists.

The Oklahoman

It doesn’t take a long glance at the standings to know what’s on the line.

No, it’s not quite do-or-die, but it’s awful close.

The New Orleans Pelicans matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder is the most important game of the season to date, and if the past two months of jockeying felt urgent, Game 77 of the season might as well be Game 7 in the playoffs.

At 5 p.m. Sunday in the Smoothie King Center, the stakes are clear.

A win would not only leapfrog the eighth-placed Pelicans ahead of the Thunder in the standings, it would provide the added advantage of jumping a team who it holds a tiebreaker advantage against. Currently, New Orleans owns the tiebreaker against none of its peers in the Western Conference jumble.

The Advocate

Russell Westbrook has some big-name players alongside him in OKC this season, but he’s still been a one-man wrecking crew, and again flirting with a triple-double as a season average, after accomplishing that incredible task last season. For more on his 2017-18 campaign, here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

But even as Oklahoma City seeks to extend its six-game winning streak in Boston on Tuesday after an attention-grabbing triumph at Toronto on Sunday, Westbrook is a forgotten man in the MVP conversation. There’s talk about Anthony Davis and LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan and Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard belonging on the ballot with Harden. Those guys deserve a spot in the MVP discourse. All of them are having great seasons.

But so is Westbrook.

He could average a triple double again this season.

Yes, the seemingly unattainable height that he scaled last season is reachable once again. Only Oscar Robertson and Westbrook have ever averaged a triple double for a season, and no one has ever done it twice much less in back-to-back seasons.

But with less than a month left in the regular season, the possibility grows by the day.

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Thunder sign Corey Brewer

The OKC Thunder signed free agent guard/forward Corey Brewer today.

According to the Norman Transcript, it is a minimum-salary contract.

Brewer (6-9, 186) has appeared in 765 career games (291 starts) and registered career averages of 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.24 steals in 23.2 minutes with Minnesota, Dallas, Denver, Houston and most recently the Los Angeles Lakers. The 11-year NBA veteran holds the sixth-best steal-to-turnover ratio off the bench in NBA history (1.10) and ranks sixth among active players in steal percentage (2.68).

More from the Norman Transcript: “The Thunder have been on the lookout for a wing ever since starting shooting guard Andre Roberson suffered a season-ending knee injury Jan. 27. Brewer struggled to find playing time with the 27-34 Lakers, averaging 3.7 points while shooting 45 percent from the field and 18 percent from 3-point land in 12.9 minutes a game, but he fits the body type and style Oklahoma City values. ”

The 2011 NBA Champion was originally drafted 7th overall by Minnesota in the 2007 NBA Draft and this season has appeared in 54 games (two starts) with the Lakers, averaging 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.

In three years at the University of Florida, Brewer helped guide the Gators to two National Championships (2006 and 2007), appearing in 108 games (106 starts) and averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.63 steals in 27.2 minutes. The Tennessee native was also named NCAA Most Outstanding Player in 2007 and was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team in 2006 and 2007.

Is Paul George’s long-term future with OKC? Or elsewhere, like perhaps in Los Angeles? That will remain a lingering question, certainly through the summer. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

Paul George feels “a real brotherhood” with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in a sit-down interview, which aired Sunday.

Talk of the Los Angeles Lakers has surrounded the five-time All-Star, who will become a free agent at the end of this season. The Lakers are not only George’s hometown team. He also requested to be traded there when he informed the Indiana Pacers he would not be re-signing come 2018 free agency.

George has, however, been complimentary of the Oklahoma City Thunder since the team traded for him over the summer.

“I obviously would’ve loved to go home. That was ideal when it was that time,” George told Nichols. “But now, being here and playing alongside Russ, playing alongside Melo, I feel a real brotherhood with those guys. If we’re here right now, then where can we be next year? Where can we be the year after that?”

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