Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City Thunder’

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George have agreed to terms on a four-year, $137-million contract, with a player option in Year 4, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Locking up George long-term is a massive win for the Thunder, even if it puts them in luxury tax hell. They seemed in serious danger of losing him for nothing after flaming out in the first round of the playoffs last year, a scenario that would’ve been an abject disaster after they surrendered Victor Oldadipo and Domantas Sabonis to get him last summer for what would’ve been just one underwhelming year in partnership with Russell Westbrook.

For a long time, it seemed like he was destined to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, for whom he’d openly dreamed of playing. Then, rumors started to swirl that he was considering returning to OKC on a short-term deal that would’ve seen him re-enter free agency in 2019 or 2020.

In the end, George agreed to return for at least three years, without even taking a meeting with a rival team.

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Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett said Thursday he’d never make a move like Kevin Durant did to win a championship.

“You hopped onto a 73-9 team and he took the easy way out, in my mind,” Garrett said of the former Oklahoma City Thunder and current Golden State Warriors star to Ken Carman and Anthony Lima of 92.3 “The Fan.”

“It’s different when LeBron left. He went to (Miami to join) Wade and Bosh, but it wasn’t something that was already guaranteed, something you already knew was going to have immediate success. (James) had to jell and work things into place.”

Garrett’s opinion might be skewed by the fact that he plays in Cleveland, but his comments were scathing, nonetheless.

“If I were him, I would’ve never made a move like that in the first place,” he added. “Me, I’m too competitive to try and ride on somebody’s coattails to get a W. But for him, you might as well stay at the spot you’re at now. There’s no point in leaving since you’ve already taken that moniker where he’s been called the snake and cupcake and all that. You might as well stay and just keep on winning.”

Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, was part of a Browns squad last year that went 0-16. He posted seven sacks in his rookie campaign.

The Houston Rockets could reportedly be on the short list of suitors for Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George this offseason, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With most of the conversation about George’s upcoming free agency focused on whether George will flee to the Los Angeles Lakers or return to the Thunder, Wojnarowski said he expects the Rockets to be “aggressive” in trying to find a way to sign him.

Wojnarowski also noted that George “fits right in” with the Philadelphia 76ers, though didn’t clarify the team’s level of interest.

The Thunder also remain a logical destination for George, who reportedly enjoyed his lone season in Oklahoma City next to Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams despite the early playoff exit.

A native of Los Angeles, George has been open about the appeal of signing with his hometown team; however, shortly after he was dealt to the Thunder, he described his interest in going to the Lakers as “overstated.”

The 28-year-old is a likely candidate for a maximum contract come July. The perennial All-Star just averaged 21-plus points for the fourth time in five seasons while shooting 40.1 percent from three.

The Indiana Pacers have had their share of doubters over the past year.

To many, their decision to proactively trade Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis last summer was akin to waving the white flag, extracting some meager return on a rapidly depreciating investment as George was all but certainly leaving town as a free agent when able. Cue the full-scale rebuild.

Not so fast.

“If y’all don’t respect the Indiana Pacers now, I have no respect for you,” Oladipo told the media after the team lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of their first-round matchup.

“That’s just how I feel,” he continued. “Nobody thought we were going to be here – no one, not one person – but us in the locker room. I feel like we’ve earned our respect from everyone. Now, if you don’t respect us, that’s fine, that’s your opinion, but I believe we’ve earned it.”

After improving on last season’s record by six wins (48-34), snagging the fifth seed in the surprisingly competitive Eastern Conference, and pushing the reigning conference finalists to seven games in a series they often dominated, it’s fairly evident the Pacers’ hairpin rebuild has been an unequivocal success, despite their first-round loss.

For their parts, Oladipo averaged 22.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, six assists, and 2.4 steals per game, while Sabonis averaged 12.4 points and 4.6 rebounds as a crucial reserve while shooting 58.1 percent from the field.

A year after one of the most tumultuous summers in recent franchise history, there’s no denying that the Pacers’ future is trending upward once more.

Victor Oladipo didn’t need any extra incentive to be his usual dominant self in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Though, the All-Star shooting guard admits that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s comments on the trade that brought him to the Indiana Pacers last summer probably provided some added motivation.

“I already have fuel. You could say he added fuel to the fire, I guess you could say,” Oladipo said afterward. “That was so long ago. It came up recently because we’re playing the Cavs in the series. I’m not worried about what he said. I can’t control his opinion. All I’m focused on is myself, and becoming the best Victor Oladipo possible.”

Cleveland was in the running to acquire Paul George from the Pacers during the offseason, with a three-team deal seemingly in place with the Denver Nuggetsthat would have sent Kevin Love to the Mile High City.

Indiana ultimately elected to ship George off to the Oklahoma City Thunderinstead, acquiring both Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis.

“I will say that Indiana could’ve done better than it did,” said Gilbert during Koby Altman’s introductory news conference roughly a month after the George trade, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

LeBron James-led teams hadn’t lost a postseason game in the first round since 2012, and had never dropped a Game 1 to open the playoffs. Those streaks came to an end at the hands of Indiana at Quicken Loans Arena, thanks in large part to the play of Oladipo, who finished with a line of 32 points on 19 shots, six rebounds, four assists, four steals, and a block in 37 minutes.

Toronto Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan is flabbergasted that the officials decided to not call a foul on Oklahoma City Thunder wing Corey Brewer at such a pivotal juncture of Sunday’s game at the Air Canada Centre.

It appeared Brewer caught DeRozan’s arm as he drove in for a layup with approximately 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but no whistle was blown. DeRozan was assessed a technical foul with 11.7 seconds left on the clock, and then another after Toronto turned the ball over just seconds later, resulting in his immediate ejection.

“He smacked me. He smacked the shit out of me,” said DeRozan following Toronto’s eventual 132-125 loss, according to Raptors HQ’s Daniel Reynolds. “He smacked me because I had a layup. He fouled me. Period.”

The 28-year-old guard wasn’t the only Raptor to head to the locker room early, as teammate Serge Ibaka and head coach Dwane Casey were also ejected for seemingly mouthing off at the refs out of frustration.

DeRozan defended his fellow ejectees on the Raptors, saying he felt the team has had enough of what he claims has been unfair officiating.

“No, we’re used to going against the odds … It’s been like that,” he said, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “We fight through it, but as soon as we say something, we’re the bad guys, we get fined, we get criticized … but we’ve all got a breaking point and it’s frustrating.”

DeRozan finished with a team-high 24 points to go along with five assists and three rebounds on 8-of-18 shooting in 33 minutes of action, as the Raptors failed to extend their winning streak to a franchise-best 12 games.

Few in recent memory bring an old-school game to today’s modern NBA. And even fewer are able to succeed with those set of skills.

It’s easy to forget Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony‘s accomplishments now that he’s taken a back seat to two superstar-caliber players in hopes of competing for a championship. Anthony now sees the change in the NBA and what the newcomers work on. With the focus primarily on stretching the floor and playing in open space, Anthony views his classic back to the basket, jab step, and slower-paced grind as something of the past.

“I watch guys work out in the summer, and it’s just straight shooting threes and pick-and-rolls and ball-handling,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Tim Keown. “Nobody works on the stuff I work on. It’s a lost art.”

As he tries to acclimate to today’s style, Anthony notices the amount of criticism he’s dealt with throughout his career. The long-two has become a thing of the past as everyone has learned to stretch out to the three. But the “lost art” Anthony has taken criticism for is what led him to 10 All-Star games, six All-NBA honors, and the 2013 scoring title.

“To be honest with you, I think I might be the only person in the history of the NBA who gets criticized for what he’s great at,” Anthony said. “That’s OK. I’d rather be criticized for something I’m great at.”

In his decreased role, Anthony is scoring 17.2 points on 15.6 shots per game – both career lows.