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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.

Steven Adams dealing with ankle sprain

There are always lots of injuries in preseason, but most of them are day-to-day and usually very minor. Hopefully that’s the case with Thunder center Steven Adams. Here’s the Oklahoman with the latest:

Steven Adams dealing with ankle sprain

The Thunder was back at practice on Saturday after a return trip from Spain. But Steven Adams didn’t participate.

Oklahoma City’s starting center sat out Saturday with what the team said is a sprained right ankle. He injured it in the second quarter of last Monday’s loss to Real Madrid and did not return. He missed Wednesday’s win against FC Barcelona Lassa.

It’s just preseason. The law states that needed to be the first sentence here. Because, it’s true. It’s just preseason, and often in preseason the best players on an NBA team play very limited minutes. It’s just a warmup. But when an NBA team plays an international team, preseason or not, the international team takes it seriously. And then anything can happen. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Thunder lose preseason game to Real Madrid

Game on the line.

Russell Westbrook on the bench.

It’ll be a regular-season rarity for the Thunder, and should the situation arise in a game that counts, Oklahoma City will hope to handle it better than it did in Monday’s preseason debut.

With Westbrook watching — he played only the first and third quarters — multiple Thunder players tried to fill the go-to role down the stretch of Monday’s 142-137 overtime loss to Real Madrid…

Real Madrid made 20 of 37 3-pointers — many of them clean looks as a result of sloppy defensive rotations — in rallying from 22 points down for an upset win…

Victor Oladipo scored 34 points. Enes Kanter added 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Cameron Payne suffers broken bone in foot

Thunder guard Cameron Payne suffered an acute fracture to his fifth metatarsal (long bone in foot) in Tuesday night’s Blue-White Scrimmage, which took place in front of fans at a high school.

According to News9 OKC, “it’s the same bone he had surgery on in late July.”

The 14th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft averaged 5.0 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 57 games during his rookie season.

Payne will see his attending physician and additional specialists this week to determine the next course of action.

Victor Oladipo has big Thunder goals

The Thunder are a very different team coming into this season. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka are gone, and Victor Oladipo and a lot of question marks are in their place. Russell Westbrook is a star, and the team has some capable big guys. As for Oladipo, there’s an opportunity for him to do big things, even as he shares the backcourt with Westbrook. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Victor Oladipo has big Thunder goals

“I don’t just want to be a three-point shooter. I don’t just want to be a defensive stopper,” Oladipo said at Thunder media day. “I want to be one of the best players in this league, and in order to do that, you have to affect the game on both ends and do multiple things.”

For two seasons, Andre Roberson started 135 regular season games for the Thunder as the heir to Thabo Sefolosha at shooting guard. While Roberson provides length and athleticism on defense at 6-foot-7, he’s a below-average perimeter shooter and shot creator, scoring just 22.8 percent of his baskets unassisted last season. In contrast, Oladipo scored 51.5 percent of his baskets unassisted last season, which would have ranked fourth on the Thunder behind Westbrook, Cameron Payne and Dion Waiters.

Defensively, Oladipo could improve simply by playing with better teammates. Roberson and Adams proved to be elite defenders in the postseason. Westbrook, when focused, can be a terror. Westbrook thinks he and Oladipo can be the best defensive backcourt in the league. Oladipo agrees…

Last season, Oladipo’s shooting struggles came mostly as a bench player, a role that saw him shoot 27.1 percent from 3 over 20 games. But in 52 games as a starter, Oladipo shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range.

Thunder sign Alex Caruso, Kaleb Tarczewski, Chris Wright

The Thunder today signed guard Alex Caruso, center Kaleb Tarczewski and forward Chris Wright. These were likely all non-guaranteed deals that merely bring the three players to training camp.

Caruso (6-5, 186), enjoyed a four-year collegiate career at Texas A&M where he finished as the school’s all-time leader in assists (649) and steals (276). As a senior, Caruso was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in addition to receiving Second-Team All SEC honors. During his Aggie career, Caruso appeared in a total of 137 games and averaged 8.0 points, 4.7 assists and 2.02 steals.

Tarczewski (7-0, 250), concluded his four seasons at the University of Arizona with 110 victories, tied for the most in school history. After his senior campaign, Tarczewski was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference 2nd Team and the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Tarczewski concluded his Wildcat career having appeared in 135 games and registering averages of 8.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 0.87 blocks.

Wright (6-9, 226), spent the 2015-16 season playing overseas in Israel with Maccabi Rishon LeZion where he helped lead his club to the Israeli National Championship. Wright had previously appeared in 32 NBA games with the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, averaging 3.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per contest. Additionally, Wright has appeared is 93 career D-League games where he holds career averages of 18.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.45 blocks.

2016 Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage info

Fans will have the first opportunity to see the 2016-17 Thunder squad in action as the team brings its annual Blue and White Scrimmage to John Marshall Mid-High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27.

The Thunder team will take the court at 7 p.m. for an open practice that also includes several Thunder game-night features such as Rumble the Bison, the Thunder Girls, Thunder Drummers and Storm Chasers. Prior to the scrimmage, the team will hold Thunder Alley starting at 4 p.m. outside the school, where fans will be able to enjoy the OG&E ThunderBolt, pop-a-shot, sport court, the Thunder merchandise trailer, appearances by Thunder entertainers, and interactive games and sweepstakes at the U.S. Cellular tent.

“We are thrilled to bring the Thunder experience to John Marshall Mid-High,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “Our tradition of the Blue and White Scrimmage gives us an outstanding opportunity to connect with communities across the state and show them how deeply we appreciate their support.”

Tickets for the scrimmage are being distributed by the John Marshall Mid-High School administration in order to best serve the school community.

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