The Oklahoma City Thunder are an interesting team as today’s NBA trade deadline approaches. Long known as a franchise not willing to enter the luxury tax, the Thunder may have no choice if they want to keep Westbrook when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
According to The Vertical’s, Shams Charania the Thunder have acquired Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a second round draft pick in 2018 from the Bulls for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne.
Good move for OKC. They get a nice haul and didn’t have to give up much. The question is, how does this play into re-signing Andre Roberson and keeping the core intact around Russel Westbrook?
Like it or not, the league is reacting to the Cavs and Warriors. The goal of every franchise, ok maybe not every, but most is to win a championship. Everyone knows you need superstar players and the right role players. The Thunder are in an interesting place going forward. They have, arguably the league’s best point guard in Westbrook, some decent young talent in Adams, Oladipo and Kanter. But that and the rest of that roster is not enough to contend for a title. They are currently the 7th seed but only 3.5 games back of the #4 seed.
Making these moves and re-signing soon to be free agent Andre Roberson this offseason, and hopefully re-signing Gibson will push the Thunder into the luxury tax. But, it will show Westbrook the team is willing to do what is necessary to surround him with talent and put he and the team in the best position to win. Interesting that the Thunder would be willing to pay the luxury tax now, considering they wouldn’t do the same to re-sign Harden years ago. That move is believed to be one of the many reasons KD chose to leave via free agency last summer. The Thunder can’t risk that happening again with Russ in 2019.
Rumors are swirling that the Celtics will trade for Indiana Pacers forward Paul George. The sticking point of course are the Nets 2017 & 2018 draft picks. Before we get into compensation, let’s talk about why this is so right for the Celtics.
The Celtics are a very good basketball team. Isaiah Thomas is playing like an MVP candidate lately and the C’s are only 3 games back of the Cavs for top seed in the east. With the Cavs dealing with an injury to Kevin Love, now is the time to strike.
NBA history is littered with teams that were on the cusp of titles and for whatever reason those championship dreams were never realized. I know Celtics GM and President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is keen to hold onto assets but, is that 2017 or 2018 pick as good as Paul George is today? No.
Imagine a Celtics starting lineup with Smart, Thomas, Horford and PG-13. That would be incredible, particularly in a potential matchup against the Cavs. While nobody truly stops LeBron James, the addition of Paul George means that isn’t as lopsided an advantage for Cleveland as it once was.
Now, compensation is what will get this deal done. The Celtics will certainly have to add one of the Nets draft picks. But what else would they have to give up? The key in this deal, is for the Celtics not to give up too much of what they currently have. Would they have to part with Avery Bradley, Tyler Zeller or Kelly Olynyk? Or one of their young assets with team friendly contracts, like Jaylen Brown?
Of course Boston isn’t the only team looking at PG-13. The Celtics long time rivals, the Lakers are also interested. While they are a long way off from contending, the new managerial infrastructure and the fact that PG-13 is a SoCal native could loom large. We will know for sure by 3pm eastern on Thursday.
Several outlets, including the Tampa Bay Times, are reporting that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston put his foot in his mouth during a pep talk at a Florida elementary school. Reports say that Jamies’ 40 minute talk, while for the most part very good, took a bit of a misstep when he decided to single out boys and girls.
During his talk to the students, Jameis said:
All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down. But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this (in deep voice). One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.
But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to. Scream it!
There is a lot wrong with that statement from Jameis. If you read it in a vacuum, the statement upholds a patriarchal view that is severely outdated and discriminatory. However, that is not what Jameis was implying. If you watch the video, Jameis is attempting to “wake” the boys who appeared to be bored during his talk.
Jameis is a lot of things. A perfect public speaker is not one of them. Maybe in time he will get better, but as for now his word choice is often poor. Not unlike many people who try and speak publicly. He unsuccessfully and poorly tried to infuse emotion and passion into some young boys he saw that were bored and uninterested. What was problematic is, the attempt fell into old stereotypes and tropes about men and women. This is something that occurs all the time. We as a society all need to do better as it relates to status quo and tropes.
You will undoubtedly see tons of pieces taking Jameis to task today and trying to make more out of this story than there is. It is worth noting that following his talk to the elementary school, Jameis did say that his choice of words was poor and he was not trying to say that little girls or women need to be silent.
See the video below.
Magic Johnson stays winning. The Hall of Famer and Lakers legend has been named President of basketball operations for his former squad. His task is to restore the purple and gold to the upper echelon of the NBA. Magic is confident and believes he can do it.
Those that are skeptical cite Magic’s lack of understanding the nuance and complexities of the salary cap, CBA and the ins and outs of running an NBA franchise. At Tuesday’s press conference Magic shared his thoughts on that. Via TNT NBA reporter David Aldridge, Magic said:
It is going to take a while. I don’t want to fool the fans. We’re going to build this thing the right way. I’ve been studying up on new CBA for weeks and will continue going to school with new GM learning it further.
In terms of a new GM, Magic said:
I’m looking for someone whose thinking is outside the box. Someone that has [established have relationships] with teams and players.
Magic is dedicated and 100% committed to making the Lakers great. There are decent pieces on the roster now, Luke Walton is a good young coach, and LA is a free agent destination. He is correct that it will take some time, it will not happen overnight. The key is to stockpile young assets with friendly contracts. In other words, nail the draft. The other important thing is to not lose sight of the long term goal for short term gains. Signing a big name free agent to snag the seven or eight seed is not advisable.
The Lakers have the willingness and are putting together the right team and infrastructure to ensure success, but they are still years away. The GM needs to be the right mix of understanding what Magic and Jeanie want (which is ultimately winning) but experienced and strong willed enough to check them when they are misguided. This is Magic’s first and most important decision.